Opportunities for those in need and volunteers

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By Dennis Box

The Courier-Herald

For people in need of a helping hand on Thanksgiving - along with those who would like to volunteer to serve - opportunities in Bonney Lake and Pierce County abound.

The Bonney Lake Food Bank continues to provide turkeys, hams and other food for people in the area.

The food bank's new director, Melvain Donyes, said in one week more than 125 turkeys and hams have been given to people coming through the doors.

The food bank will have provided nearly 300 people with a meal for the holiday with the help of many community members and businesses, including the Bonney Lake Grocery Outlet, Safeway and Fred Meyer and the Chamber of Commerce.

Senior citizens can find a complete turkey dinner served for $5 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. today (Wednesday) at the Bonney Lake Senior Center, 19304 Bonney Lake Blvd. Sign up is required.

The Bethel Family Fellowship at 20112 South Prairie Rd. is offering a Thanksgiving potluck dinner 5:30 p.m. Sunday. It is a “bring and share potluck event” for the community.

The Emergency Food Network is offering the 28th Annual Thanksgiving Day dinner 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Center.

Pierce County Transit is offering free transit service on Thanksgiving Day throughout the county.

According to the network's Executive Director David Ottey, more than 1,000 people will be served.

The Tacoma Rescue Mission, Tacoma's Salvation Army and the Fish Food Banks started the dinner in 1978. The network took over the dinner in 1986.

Until this year, the dinner has been served at the Sheraton Hotel in Tacoma, but remodeling forced the network to find a new location.

Along with helping people in need, the dinner draws more than 300 volunteers from across the county to help serve the meal.

“We've got third generation volunteers serving, grandfathers, fathers, son, grandmothers, mothers and daughters,” Ottey said. “Some call, but many of them just show up.”

Ottey said all volunteers are welcome, as are those in need.

“I can tell you there is something very special about this,” Ottey said. “It's just as vital for the volunteers as it is for those who come to eat.”

Ottey said the network considered a “one year hiatus” when the Sheraton was unavailable, but the Tacoma Dome donated the facility and Labor Ready provided funds for the meal to go on as scheduled.

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