Wed, 12/02/2020 - 10:33am caleb
Volunteers distribute more than 800 meals during modified holiday event
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
Volunteers delivered more than 800 meals during the annual Crawford AuSable Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday (but they missed the smell of the food being cooked and the fun of gathering for the meal).
“What was missing was the smell of a good turkey dinner, the community, and camaraderie of our citizens that would come to dine in and the laughter and smiles of the 150 volunteers that show up during a normal year,” said Patty Crandall, co-director of the Crawford AuSable Thanksgiving Dinner.
Organizers changed the format of the event this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, moving to a delivery-only meal service instead of the usual gathering at the Grayling Army Airfield.
Crandall said it went well this year despite the changes.
“I thought it went really well. We got everything out. It just went smooth. Everyone kept their distance. Everybody wore a mask the entire event. The drivers wore their masks,” Crandall said. “It was super.”
For the meal, this year’s Crawford AuSable Thanksgiving Dinner featured Marie Callender frozen turkey dinners donated by Family Fare, cole slaw from Spike’s Keg ‘O’ Nails, rolls provided by Lange’s Vending and Grayling Restaurant, muffins, and cranberry sauce.
“Local businesses and private individuals were very generous with their donations this year, which was appreciated,” Crandall said.
Bill Zadorsky, the head cook for the event, said he missed being able to prepare the hot meal this year.
“I didn’t get to cook anything. It felt strange not cooking,” Zadorsky said.
Zadorsky – who’s volunteered to work at the dinner for 28 years – said he also missed the kitchen crew.
“They’re like family,” Zadorsky said.
Crandall said she appreciated the help of co-directors Patrick and Abby Ertel, who came up with the plan to modify this year’s event.
“That’s what made it happen this year,” Crandall said.
Crandall said she also appreciates the help from Therese Kaiser, who started the Crawford AuSable Thanksgiving Dinner event 30 years ago.
“She was there when I needed my hand held,” Crandall said.
Crandall said 30 volunteer drivers delivered 863 meals this year. Drivers included first responders from the Beaver Creek Fire Department, the Lovells Fire Department, and the Grayling Fire Department, she said. The Grayling Army Airfield provided refrigerator space and a base of operations for the event.
Zadorsky said the Crawford AuSable Thanksgiving Dinner donated its leftover meals to food pantries.
People can donate to next year’s Crawford AuSable Thanksgiving Dinner effort by sending a check (payable to “CATD”) to: CATD, PO Box 247, Grayling, MI, 49738.