Community Stepping Up To Provide Thanksgiving Dinner For 38 Glenwood Area Families

-A A +A
By Joe Foreman, Editor

Thirty-eight Glenwood area families will enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner in their home Thursday afternoon thanks to a grass-roots effort coordinated by the proprietors and management at Midwest Lanes bowling center.

“Dad (Mike Cap) was back in the kitchen one day talking to some of the girls that work here about some families being less fortunate than others and not being able to have a Thanksgiving,” Stephanie Madison said. “Dad made the comment to me that he wanted to try to do a Thanksgiving dinner for 14 families. I went with it and things kind of snowballed from there.”

The first order of business for Madison was contacting the Mills County Storehouse for assistance in identifying families that would benefit from meal assistance. Barb Kaiman, a member of the storehouse board of directors, told Madison she could provide as many names as needed. From there, Madison turned to social media to get the word out about what she and her dad hoped to accomplish.

“I put a Facebook (post) out there and said our goal was to try and get 14 turkeys and do a complete Thanksgiving dinner. I think I reached over 500 people on that one post and ended up reaching over 1,000 people overall,” she said.

Word spread quickly and the donations began rolling in.

“Since the first part of November, I’ve had people calling me and e-mailing me to offer donations and help,” Madison said. “It’s been crazy. The response has been overwhelming.”

Madison quickly realized there would be enough food donated to serve more than 14 families. The number climbed to 25 families last week and now stands at 38.

“We’ve had some people making large donations and others donating a bag of potatoes or a pie at a time,” Madison said. “We’ve also had some monetary donations.”

Mills County Storehouse volunteers are contacting families who will have the Thanksgiving dinners delivered to their homes.

Each delivered meal will contain a cooked turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, green beans, dinner rolls, a gallon of milk, a pie and a case of bottled water. Cap will be deep frying most of the turkeys at the bowling center Thursday and a few of the birds will be cooked off-site. The meals will be packaged and delivered from the Midwest Lanes – Kegler Grill kitchen.

“We’ll probably have about a dozen volunteers working here Thanksgiving Day – packaging and delivering,” Madison said. “Dad and myself will be doing most of the cooking.”

Madison said one out of six children in Iowa goes to bed hungry at night and she believes most people are unaware of how many families and people in Glenwood and Mills County are in need of assistance.

“We talked to Barb Kaiman at the storehouse and she explained how many families and people they feed, and then you go on the food bank websites and see that there are shortages,” Madison said. “It’s just kind of a shock that there’s probably people out there that aren’t eating dinner at night.

“Dad just wanted to do this, knowing that people have fallen on hard times. You want to help, just knowing that there’s probably someone out there that has it worse than you – somebody out there who probably has it harder than you think you do.”

Madison said if there is an excess of donations, the extra food and cash will be given to the Mills County Storehouse food pantry. In addition to coordinating the Thanksgiving Day meals, Midwest Lanes is also offering a discounted rate for bowlers who donate non-perishable food items for the pantry during the holiday season. Cap said the bowling center will also accept donated items for the food pantry from the drive-through window at the Kegler Grill.

“If people want to donate some canned foods for the pantry, they can just bring them to our drive-through window and not even get out of their vehicle,” Cap said.

Madison and Cap said they expect the success of the Thanksgiving dinner program to carry over to the Christmas season and turn in to an even bigger project next year.