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Volunteers reflect on 30 Years of TurkeyFest

The anniversary of a beloved tradition
Posted at 5:50 AM, Nov 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-26 06:50:37-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — This year's Thanksgiving also signified 30 years of dinners brought to Omaha seniors in need.

About 1,200 dinners were brought to seniors, many of whom are shut-ins. There was a drive-thru distribution system where meals were run out from Kroc Center's Kitchen to volunteer drivers' cars who delivered the meals.

More than 100 volunteers worked this year including Douglas Thoms who has volunteered with the Telephone Pioneers for 28 years.

"I enjoy helping people who can't afford a dinner at Christmas time or at Thanksgiving time, it helps me help them, it's one person helping another person," Thoms said.

Thoms admits over the years food preparation has gotten easier but one thing remains the same.

"The camaraderie, I don't think anyone who comes in here to volunteer comes in because someone is forcing them to come in. We come in because we have that camaraderie. Most of us have worked together for 20-30 years," Thoms said.

Thoms has given both time and resources to giving back but he still credits volunteerism for bettering him as a person.

"So many people are worried about themselves, this organization... we're worried about all the people we can help. So it's not an I, I, I. It's a we, we, we," Thoms said.

That's a sentiment shared by Lead Chef Kevin Newlin who has spearheaded TurkeyFest for 12 years.

"You don't really know what people are going through, that's why it's good to be kind and provide them a meal," Newlin said.

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