Local organization, community unite to provide Thanksgiving dinners for families in need
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IDAHO FALLS — A local motorcycle group took it upon themselves to help provide Thanksgiving dinner for community members.
At one of the Eagle Rock Indian Motorcycle Riders Group meetings — which is based out of Idaho Falls — President Shawn Lowry asked the group if they wanted to find a way to help community members for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Group member Randy Weston mentioned he’d heard the Idaho Falls Family YMCA was looking for help with the holidays approaching.
“I had noticed a huge need,” Lowry told EastIdahoNews.com. “Obviously, people who are affected by COVID have lost their jobs or have reduced hours, so we just wanted to help people out.”
Donovan Stokes, the childcare director for the Idaho Falls Family YMCA, said they typically host a Thanksgiving dinner for families and children who are enrolled in the YMCA Learning Center program. They have more than 50 kids from toddlers through sixth grade who are in the program.
The dinner isn’t able to happen this year due to COVID-19, so Stokes came up with the idea to instead provide turkey boxes for them.
“We thought (we’d) do something to help them as far as the aspect of food, so that’d be something they don’t have to worry about,” says Stokes.
The Eagle Rock Indian Motorcycle Riders Group, with the help of the community, donated about $2,000 in food donations, which was equivalent to 50 turkey boxes. An additional $1,000 was donated from a private party that Lowry said will go towards YMCA Christmas events.
The Elks Lodge, Alturas International Academy Charter School, the local food bank, Potandon Produce and the Ammon Walmart also helped pitch in.
“I was surprised. I was overwhelmed,” Stokes said about the community response. “A lot of relationships were built through this project.”
The boxes were full of items such as a turkey, potatoes and gravy, stuffing, vegetables, ingredients to make a pie and candy, and were picked up by families on Thursday and Friday.
“I hope this puts a smile on people’s faces, and they know that there’s groups of people out there that care about the community,” Lowry said.