Due to unforeseen circumstances related to COVID-19, this year's Community Thanksgiving Dinner held at St. Ann's will be canceled, according to event organizers.
This cancellation includes both dine-in and delivery options that the event volunteers have orchestrated for over 30 years.
"This has been an annual event for the last 30 plus years, this event has helped out those who are unable to celebrate Thanksgiving dinner with their families and bring the community together. It has also contributed monetary and nonperishable goods to our local food shelf," according to a statement from the events main organizer Paul Hunke.
He encourages people to still find ways to support the local food shelf as needs will continue to exist.
Hunke said the decision to cancel the event was not easy. In fact, he was prepared to go ahead until recent restrictions were put into place by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz limiting the gathering of people, and upon taking into consideration the increase in cases in our community and region. He felt while the event is a benefit to the community it was not worth the risk to the 50-plus volunteers and the roughly 500 people that are served at the meal.
Hunke also had to consider the strain of fundraising for this event on area businesses. He said it can take about $3,000 to put this event on and he was not eager to ask businesses to donate in a time where many are seeing their revenues cut.
He and many others are looking forward to a full return of this community offering next year.