Steamboat Springs Friends, neighbors and strangers gathered Thursday for Routt County United Way’s annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner.
The dinner is a cross section of the community in socioeconomic terms, but it also provides a place for Steamboat Springs residents long in the tooth to mingle with those who may be getting their first experience of the town through turkey and the kindness of volunteers.
Dave Delliquadri has been living in Steamboat since 1970. He stays home and minds the pets — cats, dogs, fish, chickens and a gerbil — while other family members gather in Carbondale. The community dinner is a better option than cooking for one, he said. And many of the faces in the crowd are people he knows well and sees often.
Across the table sat Chas Saussy. Saussy moved to Steamboat from Milner a couple of months ago. This was his first Community Thanksgiving Dinner — he said he recognized “not a soul” in the room — and he had nothing but praise.
“It’s great. Really good food. Excellent,” he said.
Next to Saussy was Lily Zhong. This is Zhong’s first year in Steamboat and her first community dinner. She said the people in Steamboat are very nice and the area is beautiful.
Cathi and Jim Meyer moved here from Los Angeles almost 15 years ago and have been coming to the dinner for at least four of those years, they said.
With their family living mainly in the Midwest, they said the dinner makes Thanksgiving easier.
“We recognize a lot of faces,” Cathi Meyer said, noting that many are people they see every week.
“I think next year I’d like to help cook or set up,” she said.
Routt County United Way Executive Director Kelly Stanford said there was a strong volunteer turnout this year, with close to 100 volunteers throughout the course of the dinner.
Those helping in the kitchen affirmed that the day was going smoothly. Frank Beckwith even said they were ahead of the game this year.
The kitchen volunteers got there at 9:30 a.m., Beckwith said, and were 15 minutes ahead of schedule when the 1 p.m. start time rolled around.
Volunteers said there seemed to be an increase in food donations compared with last year.
“It’s 2-for-1 on green beans,” John St. Pierre said.
“Food donations were strong,” Stanford added, saying that 44 turkeys had been dropped off as of about 2 p.m.
Stanford encouraged anyone who hasn’t been to a Community Thanksgiving Dinner to put it on the calendar for next year.
“It’s a great way to connect,” she said.
To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com