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Volunteers give thanks by giving back in Ogdensburg

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The annual free community Thanksgiving Dinner at the Ogdensburg Knights of Columbus was a team effort.

“There’s a tremendous amount of preparation,” said Timothy J. Baker, the director of publicity for the event.

Mr. Baker said the two months leading up to the dinner were consumed in organizational details and ensuring the dinner went smoothly.

Grand Knight Nelson J. Woods said the event was made possible because of volunteers.

Mr. Woods said there were roughly 75 volunteers who donated their time to the dinner.

“We figure we’ll feed between 650 and 700 people,” said Mr. Woods on Wednesday.

The 721 Hasbrouck St. Knights Hall itself holds 200 people, but Mr. Woods said people “don’t all come in at one sitting.”

But Mr. Baker said most people actually enjoy the meal at home.

“Deliveries start at 11 a.m.,” said Mr. Baker. He said more than half of the dinners served are to people who pick up the meal or get it delivered to them.

Members of the Ogdensburg Free Academy Key Club helped deliver food, said Mr. Baker.

Mr. Woods said deliveries went out to the entire city of Ogdensburg and some of the surrounding region, including the village of Heuvelton.

Mr. Woods added that more people called in for deliveries or to schedule pick-ups this year. He believes the sluggish economy is to blame and said he is glad the Knights are able to help out.

Roughly 70 turkeys were cooked up for the dinner; a major operation that filled the Knights kitchen starting Wednesday morning.

“We’re working two shifts today,” said Mr. Baker on Wednesday, adding that Thanksgiving morning will see the rest of the food, besides the turkeys, prepared.

“We just survey and see who’s available for the event,” said Bert J. Doe, the man in charge of the kitchen for the Knights.

Getting 70 turkeys ready takes a lot of work, and a lot of organization, said Mr. Doe.

The kitchen is capable of cooking 22 turkeys at a time, said Mr. Doe. After the turkeys are cooked, the volunteers formed an assembly line at the counters and prepped the birds for the meal.

On Thanksgiving morning, Mr. Baker said he expected 30 people to show up to help prepare the mashed potatoes, vegetables and other side dishes.

The rolls were donated by Phillips Diner on Ford Street, said Mr. Woods.

Mr. Baker said the “community support’s been excellent” for the event.

Mr. Woods said roughly $4,000 was raised for the meal.

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