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Gallery: Hundreds gather for community Thanksgiving dinner

Volunteers (from left) Pat Davis, Toni Albert and her daughter Faith, had the sweet chore of plating several hundred pieces of pie to feed guests at the Community Thanksgiving Dinner at Immaculate Conception Church, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia 1 / 18
Volunteers (from left) Valerie Hogan and Georgi Anderson organized plastic containers to be filled with all the fixings of a Thanksgiving meal to be delivered to families throughout New Richmond last Thursday, Nov. 23, as part of the Community Thanksgiving Dinner at Immaculate Conception Church. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 18
Young volunteer Faith Albert delivered gravy to several hundred hungry guests at the community Thanksgiving dinner hosted by Immaculate Conception Church on Thursday, Nov. 23. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia 3 / 18
The 18th annual community Thanksgiving dinner organized by Rhonda Bierbrauer and hosted by Immaculate Conception Church served turkey dinners to more than 150 guests and home delivered more than 200 meals to families across New Richmond last Thursday, Nov. 23. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia 4 / 18
Volunteer Amber Neuberger checked on one of more than 15 roasters warming meat from 22 turkeys prepared for the Community Thanksgiving Dinner hosted at Immaculate Conception Church last Thursday. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia5 / 18
Volunteers Mike Burnley and Maureen Brunner barely broke a sweat cooking more than 240 pounds of potatoes for the Community Thanksgiving Dinner hosted at Immaculate Conception Church, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia 6 / 18
Volunteer Rhonda Bierbrauer began organizing the community Thanksgiving dinner 18 years ago in honor of her son who survived a dire medical condition. Over the years, the event has provided turkey dinners with all the fixings for thousands of community members care of generous donations from sponsors and untold hours by volunteers. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia 7 / 18
Volunteer John Brunner delivered platters of turkey to several hundred hungry guests at the Community Thanksgiving Dinner hosted by Immaculate Conception Church on Thursday, Nov. 23. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia 8 / 18
Volunteers began preparing food at 5 p.m. Wednesday night including 240 pounds of potatoes and 20 turkeys in preparation for feeding more than 350 community members at this year’s community Thanksgiving dinner hosted by Immaculate Conception Church on Thursday, Nov. 23. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia9 / 18
Volunteers (from left) Juneau Paulsen and Elizabeth Lee greeted several hundred guests at the Thanksgiving Dinner hosted at Immaculate Conception Church last Thursday. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia 10 / 18
Several hundred community members enjoyed a free turkey dinner at the annual event organized by Rhonda Bierbrauer and hosted by Immaculate Conception Church last Thursday, Nov. 23. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia11 / 18
Volunteers (from left) Elizabeth Lee, John Brunner and Bob Donahoe got a workout mashing more than 240 pounds of potatoes for the Community Thanksgiving Dinner hosted at Immaculate Conception Church, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia 12 / 18
Volunteers Josh and Faith Albert managed to set out more than 100 plates of pie without tasting a single slice, or so we were told. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia13 / 18
Volunteer Rosemary Donahoe found herself working the corn and bean detail solo as part of preparations for the Thanksgiving Dinner at Immaculate Conception Church last Thursday. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia 14 / 18
Volunteer Todd Albert showed a steady hand filling up more than 100 containers with gravy to accompany meals delivered to families throughout New Richmond last Thursday, Nov. 23, as part of the Community Thanksgiving Dinner at Immaculate Conception Church. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia15 / 18
Volunteers (from left) Sheila Anderson,and Davyann Lee double-checked to make sure there were enough marshmallows covering the sweet potatoes last Thursday at the Community Thanksgiving Dinner at Immaculate Conception Church. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia 16 / 18
Volunteer server LaVon Hanso, portioned out helpings of squash last Thursday at the Community Thanksgiving Dinner at Immaculate Conception Church. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia 17 / 18
Ninety-nine-year-old Bernard Menier has been participating in the community Thanksgiving dinner hosted by Immaculate Conception Church for several years. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia 18 / 18

More than 200 Thanksgiving meals were delivered to New Richmond area residents and another 150 more guests enjoyed a community Thanksgiving dinner hosted by Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Thursday, Nov. 23.

Working with a skimpier than usual crew of volunteers, organizer Rhonda Bierbrauer began meal preparations at 5 p.m. Wednesday evening peeling more than 240 pounds of potatoes and roasting 20, 20-pound turkeys.

"Our family style dinners kind of blew up this year. Four or more people, I consider a family. For every single take out, there are three containers, one with all their cold in it, one will have vegetables in it and one will have their turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy in it. We had somewhere around 125 volunteers between Wednesday night, today and my delivery people," said Bierbauer.

At 8 a.m. Thanksgiving morning, volunteers picked up where the night crew left off. Giant pots of boiling potatoes and pans filled with squash occupied the commercial stoves and ovens in the church kitchen. Experienced volunteers taught newbies, age worked alongside youth, as some 30 volunteers shared in everything from mashing potatoes and making stuffing to washing pots and plating hundreds of slices of pie.

First to go out the door were boxes filled with turkey dinners complete with all the fixings destined for delivery to homebound families care of a small army of volunteer drivers. Home deliveries completed, the volunteers focused on the meals soon to be shared with more than 150 sit-down guests gathering about the long line of tables in the dining room.

As the clock struck 1 p.m., volunteers began streaming out of the kitchen with bowls of mashed potatoes and tureens of gravy followed in short order by platters of steaming hot turkey. The chaos of conversation melted quickly into a satisfied silence, proof that all of their work had been worth it.

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