Group reaches out with holiday dinners

By Clarence Plank: PNT staff writer

People made their way over to the Memorial Building on Thursday for the Community Thanksgiving Dinner. They had their choice of dining in or getting a meal to go.

Portales Community Outreach organizer Elvia Garcia said 18 volunteers were making deliveries, with each carrying no less than 10 meals each.

“I still have my phone on just in case someone calls me,” Garcia said. “So if we have someone getting to deliver, they can make that delivery too.”

Garcia said people have been calling two or three weeks in advance to get their name on a church list for a meal.

Many volunteers were taking orders to send out to people in Clovis and Portales, and serving the ones who came to eat. The free dinner has been going on in Portales for seven years. The Portales Community Outreach has been gaining more and more volunteers to help make the dinner run more smoothly.

“We’re just making sure we doing run out of anything,” Garcia said. “We have such an abundance of volunteers, it keeps getting easier every year. Now we have volunteers who keep coming here every year and they just take charge.”

Guests were treated to turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, cranberry sauce and desserts. James A. Gibson provided a little musical entertainment on the piano.

Garcia spent her time between the kitchen, talking to drivers and talking to guest. Garcia said she spends her time with some of the people because some don’t have any family.

John Bohm of Portales has been volunteering his time for the past seven years. Bohm was deep frying turkeys for the dinner and himself.

“We’re just frying turkeys,” Bohm said while checking the temperature of a turkey. “They had several turkeys that were baked. A lot them were baked by the volunteers. We’re just frying some here.”

Volunteer Troy McCollum of Portales was taking a break and eating dinner with parents. McCollum and his wife Maxine have been helping out with the Portales Community Outreach for two years.

“My parents came by so I came out to eat with them,” McCollum said. “We really enjoy getting together and meeting new people. The food was really good.”