Church celebrates 17th annual Thanksgiving dinner - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Church celebrates 17th annual Thanksgiving dinner

Church celebrates 17th annual Thanksgiving dinner

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Thanksgiving is a day many people associate with eating turkey and watching football, but for 70 volunteers at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, the day means so much more.

They set out to make enough turkey for 350 guests, including church members, community members and anyone that just so happened to stop by.

For them it's all part of their mission to make sure everyone feels welcomed and wanted on Thanksgiving.

"We've got 300 pounds of turkey and 180 pounds of mashed potatoes," pastor Sheryl Erickson says. It's enough to lure anyone in for a quick bite to eat.

Each guest has their own story, their reason for coming to the table.

"The relatives have gone to the in-laws' house or they live away from their family and can't drive that far," Erickson explains.

No matter what that reason is, everyone quickly becomes family, getting the royal treatment courtesy of the house.

"It's just so fun to see everybody so thankful for whatever they have on Thanksgiving," volunteer Sue Launder says.

Launder, a 10-year pro, has seen the dinner grow from dozens to hundreds.

"That's why we kind of made it a little earlier this year because we were having people come at least half an hour earlier the last couple years," Launder says.

The Kosbaus family on the other hand are volunteering for the first time.

"We really want our son to know that it's important to help out others and to be thankful. These days kids have a lot and we want them to know there are others that don't have a lot and that it's so important to help others and share what you have," Tracy Kosbau says.

It's a lesson their son Ben is hearing loud and clear. When he was asked what he was thankful for he had this to say, "Even though I do play a lot of electronics more than I play outside, I kind of like food and friends and family more than electronics."

The dinner was held at the church from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Thursday. All the food was donated by church members and volunteers.

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