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La Crosse Community Thanksgiving Dinner makes final preparations

Kaitlyn Riley

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Thanksgiving is just days away, and volunteers have already been putting in the hours to serve nearly 3,000 free meals at the La Crosse Community Thanksgiving Dinner.

Vince Risto said the effort requires more than 700 volunteers each year.

“It takes a small army,” Risto said. “We get a lot of donations. We get the schools involved. They make our pumpkin pies. We get some other local businesses that donate stuff for us. It takes a lot of people to make it work.”

Doors open at 10:00 a.m. Thursday. Nondenominational worship service begins at 10:30, and dinner is served from 11 a.m.-3:00 p.m. There is also entertainment all day including music, arts, crafts, games for children, and a large screen television for football games.

The La Crosse Community Thanksgiving Dinner is a non-profit that raises funds each year from donations through individuals, churches, businesses and community groups.

Volunteers can provide transportation if people cannot get to the dinner. Everyone in the La Crosse Community is invited to eat.

Monday is the last day to call for Thanksgiving meals to be delivered.

Monetary donations will be accepted at the dinner, but donations can also be mailed year-round.

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.