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      Volunteers make community Thanksgiving possible

      With Thanksgiving just over a week away, our Facebook viewers want to know where they can help out and volunteer for Thanksgiving this year?

      Dozens of community Thanksgiving dinners will be served next week, but only a few will actually be on Thanksgiving.

      Organizers say it is a little bit harder to find willing individuals on the holiday itself. That never stops them from serving up a big meal to those who need it.

      Turkey, stuffing and, of course, pumpkin pie will fill the plates of hundreds of donated Thanksgiving meals this season. But all that food doesn't cook or serve itself; the dinner and celebration happens because of the time and dedication of literally hundreds of volunteers across the U.P., and they're happy to help.

      Facebook fan Vicki Kirby writes: "I volunteered at the community Thanksgiving in Escanaba. Lots of yummy meals provided to lots of people! I plan to volunteer again this year."

      "They really enjoy doing it, some of them just like to be with people and to help," says coordinator Edith Prosen.

      Thanksgiving meals have been a tradition at Saint Marks Lutheran Church for over 30 years, and they've never run out of helping hands. They have dozens of volunteers each Thanksgiving, sometimes they even have to turn people away.

      This year they're still looking for volunteers, but Aubree's pizza in Marquette has agreed to cater the meal, so volunteers will only be responsible for serving food.

      Across the U.P., Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly enlists hundreds every year to serve meals in Houghton, Baraga and Keweenaw counties. In all, they'll serve about a thousand meals. They say it doesn't seem like a chore to volunteer, it seems like spending time with family and friends. In fact, out of all three major holidays, Thanksgiving is the easiest for them to find volunteers.

      "Little Brothers is really a big family, a family of elderly, friends and volunteers who just enjoy coming together and spending the holiday together," says volunteer coordinator Cathy Aten. "To me, it just seems so much, that it becomes a tradition."

      Now while these organizations do say it's easier to find volunteers on Thanksgiving Day, they're still in high demand and their work is very necessary.

      St. Mark TMs Lutheran Church

      Corner of Fair and Presque Isle, Marquette

      1 p.m., November 24

      Noon for coffee and fellowship

      226-6857 for reservation

      Bethel Lutheran Church

      333 East Ridge, Ishpeming

      Noon, November 24

      11 a.m. coffee and fellowship

      RSVP not required

      Salvation Army Recreation Center (SARC)

      302 Explorer, Gwinn

      5-8 p.m., Wednesday, November 23

      RSVP not required

      Proserve - Escanaba High School

      Taking volunteers Wednesday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. to prepare and serve the meal.

      Call Theresa if interested in volunteering to help delivering meals at (906) 786-7080. To volunteer with all other aspects, call ProServe at 786-1699.

      Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly Sit-Down Dinner Sites

      Contact (906) 482-6944

      St. Annes Church, Baraga 1 p.m. United Methodist Church, Ontonagon 1 p.m. Doelle Senior Center, Tapiola 1 p.m. Grace Lutheran Church, South Range 1 p.m. St. Ignatius Church, Houghton 1 p.m. Church of the Resurrection, Hancock 1 p.m. Sacred Heart Church, Calumet 1 p.m. Copper City Community Building, Copper City 1 p.m. Houghton County Medical Care, Hancock 11:30 a.m. Hot Meal Delivery Sites Grace United Methodist Church, Houghton 12 p.m. Apostolic Lutheran Church, Laurium 12 p.m.