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Spirit Of Oakdale Spreads Thanks And Giving
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Volunteers were lined up and reporting for duty on Thanksgiving Day, as over a thousand meals were served to community members. The complimentary meal has been offered to the community by the Spirit of Oakdale for 23 years. Leader Photo By Teresa Hammond

One needn’t have gone hungry on Thanksgiving Day 2016 as Vickie Thompson, Mickey Peabody and their crew of volunteers served up over 1,000 meals on Thursday, marking the 23rd Annual Spirit of Oakdale Thanksgiving dinner.

“We served a lot of food to people, they had full, full, plates,” Thompson said of those in attendance, noting that over 100 turkeys were donated to the annual event.

“We sent 36 whole turkeys to Modesto Gospel Mission,” she continued, “and we cut 80 ourselves.”

The event co-founder shared that volunteers began serving up ‘to go’ plates at 10 a.m., enabling CAPS to deliver meals to those who were unable to make it to the Gene Bianchi Community Center. Doors were open to the public at 11 a.m. and a steady stream of meals served up until its end at 2 p.m.

“It truly was amazing,” Thompson said of the dedicated crew who selflessly give of their time each holiday season. “We cut 50 turkeys on Wednesday night. They were done prepping everything by the time we started serving at 10 a.m. They were cleaning up the kitchen at 11 a.m.”

Attendees of all financial means were treated to a complete home cooked meal of turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, salad, mashed potatoes and gravy, bread and dessert. Crafts and face painting were also set up for the younger attendees.

Twenty three years later, Thompson shared much has changed in the way of recipients and the event, yet through it all the community and volunteers maintain her spirit.

“It’s a lot of work,” she shared, “and we’re getting older. To do this takes a lot of planning. I’m just hoping for the next generation to come in and say, okay what can we do to help you guys?

“The giving of community and friends, makes it all worth it,” she continued. “I’m grateful because of everybody that does show up with a grateful smile on their face and selflessness of our volunteers. That just fills my heart.”