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Thanksgiving Community Meal: Rotary Club to host free holiday dinner again

November 22, 2017
By ERIC DeVAUX ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Thanksgiving is the time to be around friends, family and the community and that is why the Lehigh Acres Rotary Club is hosting its 11th Annual Thanksgiving Community Meal.

Free and open to the public, it will be held on Nov. 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Raphael Catholic Church. There will be turkey, ham and other traditional Thanksgiving sides, along with live music.

Rotarian Mike Buff, the chairperson for the event, explained that some people in Lehigh may be financially strained or they do not have a family to celebrate Thanksgiving with.

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"We look at the emotional need," he said. "There are some people that live in adult facilities by themselves. They just can't put together this big of a meal for one person."

During hard financial times, Buff has seen an uptick in attendance at the dinner.

He is expecting a lot more people this year due to Hurricane Irma.

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"When we feed 500 people at Thanksgiving, there is a need," Buff said.

The club is going to cook 30 turkeys and will have ham on standby if it runs out of turkey.

The club has continued the annual tradition because it feels it is its civic duty.

"It's a service project we feel we need to do," Buff said. "We work with the monies that we raise inside the club and the grants we get from Rotary."

He noted that funding for the dinner is pretty straight forward.

"We work at getting a grant each year from the Rotary Foundation and monies that are contributed by club members," Buff said. "Additionally, we have a wishing well and if somebody wants to contribute money at the dinner, they could so. We take that money and apply it to the following year."

The club members are donating their time to help prepare for the food for the feast.

"We have members that will be there two days in advance doing cooking, and we will have Rotary members there on Thanksgiving Day," he said. "We are a service organization and we do things that make the community a better place to live."

The church is at 2514 Lee Blvd.



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