It’s never too early for Vickie Thompson to start planning when it comes to the Spirit of Oakdale community Thanksgiving meal.
Now, thanks to the efforts of Dan Holman and a group of volunteers, the annual free event has a unique fundraising opportunity. Community members, businesses, service clubs and the like, have the opportunity to purchase name plates for display at the iconic ‘Yesterday Is Tomorrow’ cowboy statue along East F Street located between the Oakdale Cowboy Museum and Bachi’s Restaurant.
Name plates are available in 5x7 size for $200 and 3x5 size for $100. Donors are encouraged to place a message, brand, family name, logo or memoriam on their personal plate. All proceeds from this phase of the beautification project will go to the Spirit of Oakdale community meal.
A fundraiser ‘meet and greet’ to promote sales of the name plates will be hosted on Thursday, Aug. 25 at the H-B between the hours of 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Holman estimates the sales of name plates surrounding the statue can generate as much as $15,000 toward the annual community meal that feeds a free Thanksgiving dinner to over 500 people each year, hosted at the Bianchi Community Center each Thanksgiving day.
“It takes me approximately $5,000 per year to run Spirit of Oakdale,” Thompson said of the long time event. “This could get us through if we had a tough year. What I’m trying to do is get us to a place, so that when I’m ready to step down in a few years it can still keep going, even if donations were light.”
Thompson shared she also makes a donation on behalf of the event to Oakdale Center for Human Services each year. Funds established from the fundraiser would put them in a better place to donate a set amount each year.
“The idea was, this is the most photographed thing in our town,” Holman said of his initial involvement with revitalizing the cowboy statue and the area surrounding it which once held water.
He shared that several years ago he became tired of looking at the drained pool area filled with leaves and what he termed a ‘mess,’ so he and a few friends decided to take it on as a project.
“The City of Oakdale is responsible for the statue,” Holman explained. “We cleaned it up, filled it with rock and bricked the sides. Then the Oakdale Garden Club came in and topped it off with soil and plantings.”
Phase 1 of the project involved the selling of bricks which top the sides and are etched with names, brands and the like. Proceeds from that fundraiser were given to Oakdale Garden Club.
“Right now we want to fill this up,” Holman said of the immediate space surrounding the statue.
“We’re looking for community groups, businesses, individuals, in memory,” Thompson said of donors, “this statue isn’t going anywhere. We want to add to it and have the community be a piece of that.”
The duo noted they need to sell 25 to 30 plates at a time before they can turn them over to Randy Blevins of Signs by Randy and Oakdale Locksmith. Blevins has joined with the team as the middle man for coordinating the engraving and handling of each plate with a third party.
Thompson encourages locals to join her as well as members of the Spirit of Oakdale committee at the Aug. 25 event for a few hors d’oeuvres and maybe a cocktail.
“They can share some good conversation, fill out forms and leave their money,” Thompson said of ordering the decorative plates. “I can’t send them through until they’re paid for and each person will receive a letter afterwards for tax purposes.”
“The idea is to get it full (of name plates) and make it look good,” Holman added, “because it’s never going away.”
For additional information contact Thompson at 606-3806.