Thankful Hearts Feeds a Record 325 People on Thanksgiving

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Warrenton City Manager Linda Engebretson dons the Thankful Hearts t-shirt and serves tables. Photo credit: Lisa Lamping

Submitted by Lisa Lamping

With the help of about 30 volunteers, 325 community members were treated to a home cooked “sit down and be served” style meal during the 7th annual Thankful Hearts event.

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Miss Clatsop County Hannah Garhofer greets people as they come in to eat at Thankful Hearts. Photo credit: Lisa Lamping

Volunteer servers took orders and delivered the orders to the volunteers prepping food in a serving line. Once the order was prepared, the volunteer served the piping hot meal to the guest.  Tablemates enjoyed chatting while they dined.

After dinner, guests enjoyed coffee, tea and punch and tasted desserts ranging from traditional pumpkin pie to cupcakes and homemade candies. In some cases, guests even took home leftovers.

Our family conceived of Thankful Hearts seven years ago, while sitting around a kitchen table with the Burkhart and Clark families. We modeled the dinner after a similar function in nearby Ilwaco. “We loved what Chris Sumers and Russ Maize were doing and felt it would be a great thing to do in our community,” said co-organizer, and cooking director, Dianne Burkhart.

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Volunteers gathered at Thankful Hearts to cook and serve a free Thanksgiving dinner. Photo credit: Lisa Lamping

In the group’s first year, they fed about 250 people including home deliveries and food delivered through Meals on Wheels.  Although great fun, we found that the large number of volunteers was a bit overwhelming.

To simplify the event and better define roles, the number of volunteers is now around 30 people, however the number of hungry community members has risen to a record 325 this year.

A record number of 325 people were served a free Thanksgiving dinner in 2017. Photo credit: Lisa Lamping.

Our group loves Thankful Hearts. We really enjoy seeing and hearing how much people appreciate what we do. It is such a good feeling to give.

Even though the event is a lot of work, we enjoy it so much. We have no plans to stop anytime soon. Someday we hope someone will take over and keep it going long after we have stepped aside. Until then, we will see you all next year.

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