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Immaculate Conception Church to host annual Thanksgiving Dinner

For the last 15 years, Ronda Bierbrauer has been helping prepare and organize the Immaculate Conception Church’s annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner. Despite the huge amount of planning and work that goes into the dinner, Bierbrauer has no regrets about getting involved with the event all those years ago.

“I would absolutely not change a thing about all the work I put in; I have no regrets whatsoever,” Bierbrauer said. “I get asked how long I will keep doing this all the time and I tell everyone that I will keep doing it as long as God is willing to give me the strength and resolve to do so.”

The annual dinner starts at 1 p.m. Nov. 28, but the preparation for the event starts the day before when Bierbrauer and a group of volunteers converge on the church to peel potatoes, cook and clean all the vegetables and put the 16-18 turkeys in the oven.

“We start the preparation for the meal on Wednesday (Nov. 27) at 5:30 p.m.,” Bierbrauer said. “Then at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving, we come back and set up the tables, decorate the space and prep whatever food we have left to get ready. At 11 a.m., the volunteer drivers come in so we can have a meeting to discuss the process of delivering the meals to people at their homes.”

Bierbrauer estimates that about 400 people will be served on Thanksgiving, including the large number of people who have meals delivered to their homes or who walk in to pick up the meals for the holiday. Anywhere from 150 to 200 people will actually come to the church to eat, according to Bierbrauer.

“When I got my start I had just begun to get involved with the community and they needed donations for the dinner,” Bierbrauer said. “They also were in need of drivers, so they asked me to help out with that too. One of the things that really got me about the dinner was when I delivered a meal to an elderly woman who was alone for the holiday. When I delivered the meal, I couldn’t help but stay and sit with her for awhile.”

The year after Bierbrauer started to help with the dinner, the organizer of the event stepped down and Bierbrauer decided to step up and helped out as much as she could. Now, she is in charge of the event and wouldn’t change a thing about how things turned out.

“No one else was coming forward to take charge and I feared that no one would which would mean the end of the dinner,” Bierbrauer said. “I couldn’t let that happen so that is why I stepped up and took over.”

Those wishing to attend the dinner must RSVP by Nov. 23 by contacting the church office at 715-246-4652 ext. 1 or Ronda Bierbrauer at 715-246-2086. To find out which items would be acceptable to donate to the dinner, contact either the church or Bierbrauer. Also, contact Bierbrauer to volunteer to deliver dinner on Thanksgiving.

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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