Dinner is served

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By Kirsten Laskey

Thanksgiving is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate appreciation and gratitude toward others. The VFW Post 8874 is not missing this chance to give back; volunteers are rolling up their sleeves and hauling out the pots and pans to cook a Thanksgiving Day feast for the community.

The dinner will be held from 12-3 p.m. Thursday at the post. The menu includes turkey and all the fixings, which is free of charge.

Jaime Clabo, canteen manager at the VFW, said about 80-100 people attend the dinner.

While “free food is always good,” Clabo said the dinner is an opportunity to serve the community.

“I guess community outreach … hopefully people show up,” she said.

Gene Tucker, former post commander, agreed. “It’s our way of giving back to the community.”

Plus, Tucker said, the VFW has some members who are really good cooks. For instance, member Willie Herrera “smokes a mean turkey.”

The dinner is more than just the food, however.

Post Commander Victor Valenzuela said, “The VFW is a fraternity club and we’re primarily here as a community group that likes to participate with the community by providing something like this to the community.”

While people attend the dinner, Valenzuela said he hopes that “the community understand that the VFW is here primarily to serve the veterans  … this is an opportunity for the town to come and see the post and enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving and socializing with family by giving thanks for what we have (and) the freedom we have.”

The dinner will be one of several events the VFW provides to the community. Tucker said the VFW supports a drug-free environment for the schools as well as donates to the schools’ athletic departments. Additionally, Tucker said some members support youth athletic leagues.

“We give to the community in many ways,” he said.

It’s not just the VFW at work; Tucker said, “The glue that makes the VFW works … is our Ladies’ Auxiliary.

The auxiliary’s members not only at times provide meals but they perform a variety of other services such as giving coats and clothing to young people in the community and distribute food baskets on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“If we didn’t have the strength and support of our ladies we wouldn’t have the post,” Tucker said.  If anyone is interested in donating food or time to the Thanksgiving dinner, call the post at 662-3506.