Steamboat Springs residents Kerry Kwiatkowski, left, and Deb Bucci carve turkeys during last year’s Routt County United Way Community Thanksgiving Dinner at the Steamboat Springs Community Center.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs residents Kerry Kwiatkowski, left, and Deb Bucci carve turkeys during last year’s Routt County United Way Community Thanksgiving Dinner at the Steamboat Springs Community Center.

United Way Community Thanksgiving Dinner ready to go

All the group needs is whipped cream for Thursday's Community Thanksgiving Dinner

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If you go

What: Routt County United Way Community Thanksgiving Dinner

When: 1 to 5 p.m. today

Where: Steamboat Springs Community Center, 1605 Lincoln Ave.

Cost: free

— Last year’s Routt County United Way Community Thank­s­g­iving Dinner served about 500 people.

With a greater demand for services this year, according to local health and human service agencies, the dinner’s attendance could be even larger, said Kelly Stanford, United Way executive director.

For example, the Routt County Department of Human Services’ caseload has risen 65 percent since last year. Other agencies also have reported an increased need for services.

“It is a unique event — truly open to everyone in the community,” Stanford said. “But there may be more families who need a free Thanksgiving dinner this year.”

Stanford said the United Way staff was completing final preparations Wednesday afternoon for the Community Thanksgiving Dinner, which will be from 1 to 5 p.m. today at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. She said community members and local businesses and organizations donated food and other items.

Based on last year’s attendance, Stanford said they’re ready.

“We’re in great shape,” she said. “We’ve had a tremendous response on food.”

She said the first of the event’s 100 volunteers would begin arriving at 9:30 a.m. today. They’ll finish any setup that wasn’t completed Wednesday and open the kitchen in preparation for the food that will start coming in at 11 a.m.

Stanford said donated food must be brought in disposable containers. As of Wednesday afternoon, she said the only thing needed for the dinner was whipped cream to top desserts.

The United Way will give away all leftovers from the dinner, Stanford said. She said anyone who wants a plate can stop by the community center at 5 p.m.

For more information, call the United Way at 879-5605.

Oak Creek event

Cody and Janine Iacovetto also are hosting a free Thanks­giving dinner from noon to 3 p.m. at their restaurant, Shorty’s, in Oak Creek.

Cody Iacovetto said the couple moved back to Oak Creek from Denver in December and opened the restaurant in May. He said it was Janine’s idea then to host a Thanksgiving dinner. Cody Iacovetto said Oak Creek’s four churches caught wind of the idea and wanted to help.

He said the support has been “unbelievable.” The community and churches donated pies, turkeys and mashed potatoes. Cody Iacovetto said they’re planning for 150 people from Oak Creek, Yampa and Phippsburg.

He said the free Thanksgiving dinner would become an annual event in South Routt.

“We know a lot of people are hurting, and the restaurant is slow,” Cody Iacovetto said. “We wanted to do something to help and bring the community together. Nothing bad can happen from it.”

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