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Coming together to help at Thanksgiving

Individuals, groups and businesses have stepped forward

It turns out there is something to be thankful for even when a global pandemic eliminates some cherished local Thanksgiving traditions.

For decades, The Salvation Army has offered a Thanksgiving meal in Fort Dodge for anyone in need or anyone who just didn’t want to be alone on the holiday.

More recently, the Johnson family, owners of Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota, also offered a Thanksgiving dinner in the dealership’s showroom. The cars went out, the tables came in and culinary arts students from Iowa Central Community College cooked the meal.

Then came COVID-19. Because it would not be safe to have so many people together in close quarters, both dinners were canceled.

But other groups and individuals have stepped in to make sure that those in need will have a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Athletics for Education and Success, best known to many as AFES, has announced that it will offer Thanksgiving meals. The meals will be available via delivery or carryout only. Donations are paying for this new initiative.

Also new this year is Carts of Hearts, to be offered by Dodger Experience, a middle school group. Thanks to a donation from a business that chose to remain anonymous, the students will purchase food to provide at least 10 families with a meal.

The restaurant TC Mae’s will offer a community Thanksgiving meal beginning at 11 a.m. Monday.

New Age Media and Supportive Expressions are conducting a food drive through Friday to collect items for Thanksgiving meals for those in need.

And to top it all off, Libby Deegan, a Fort Dodge nurse, is preparing to make some meals and is enlisting some help via social media.

While New Age Media has conducted a Thanksgiving food drive for a few years, Deegan and the various groups are doing this for the first time. They are stepping up and filling the gap created when the other dinners had to be canceled.

How many other communities in the nation can boast that organizations, businesses and even individuals can step in at nearly the last minute to make sure their neighbors have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner?

This response should make us all thankful to be in Fort Dodge and Webster County.

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