Community Thanksgiving dinner grows every year

Thanksgiving is quickly approachingand with it comes a time for families togather together and find time to enjoyeach other’s company and reflect on allthe things in life there are to be thankfulfor. However, there are those in our communitywho all too often find themselvesalone during the holidays. One localman, however, has made it his mission toprovide a Thanksgiving dinner for thosewho would otherwise be alone.For the past seven years, Jim Berngenhas been serving up hot meals to hiscommunity with The Annual ThanksgivingCommunity Dinner.“When the dinner first started sevenyears ago, we served roughly 125 meals.Last year, over 400 meals were served.”says Berngen. The meals are traditionalThanksgiving fare, complete with turkeyand dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy,sweet potatoes, corn, green beans, hotrolls, cranberries, and dessert. The mealsare served every year in the Poteau HighSchool cafeteria on Thanksgiving Dayfrom 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.Despite the size of the undertaking,Berngen says that the meal is available tothe public for free.“There is no charge for the meal,” saysBerngen, “I rely solely on the generosityof the community to pay for the meal.”Donations for the Annual Thanksgiving CommunityDinner can be dropped off at Arvest Bank or CommunityState Bank in Poteau, or at United Medical Incorporatedon Dewey Avenue, also in Poteau. Items needed for themeal include gravy mix, stove-top stuffing, cannedcorn and green beans, canned cranberries, brown andserve rolls, canned sweet potatoes, soda, and desserts,including sugar-free desserts. Monetary donations arealso accepted.For more information, or to schedule a donationpick-up, please contact Jim Berngen at (918) 658-5909.