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Holy Rosary ready to host Thanksgiving

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Millions of Americans are preparing for the big feast day, as they check off their grocery lists or pack their bags.

But not everybody has big plans on Thanksgiving, and that is why volunteers at Holy Rosary in Detroit Lakes are busy making sure they, too, have an invitingly warm place to go for a good, old-fashioned Thanksgiving meal.

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"It's complete with turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, sweet potatoes, bread, cranberries, olives and pickles, pumpkin and apple pie -- the whole works," said Detroit Lakes Mayor Matt Brenk, who is chairing the event with his wife, Mary.

A couple of dozen volunteers -- mostly from Holy Rosary, but other non-members as well -- are rolling up their sleeves and getting ready to cook up a storm.

"We're preparing to feed 450," said Brenk, who says the entire meal is made from scratch.

"We'll start Wednesday afternoon, getting all the turkeys ready..." said Brenk.

The volunteers are cooking up 30 12-to-14-pound turkeys and peeling roughly 300 pounds of potatoes and sweet potatoes while 60 pies will be ready for post-meal, pant-stretching consumption.

"And what's neat about that is, the pies are from the Holy Rosary pie sale, but it's not like we just got them for free," said Brenk. "There's a parishioner who purchased them from the sale and then donated them to the dinner."

The meal, which goes from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. is free and open to anybody, not just members of Holy Rosary.

There will be a free-will donation set up for those who want to give something back, but it's not required.

Community members are not only invited to go in, sit down and enjoy the meal and company, but will also do carry-out dinners for those on the go.

If somebody would like to make it to the meal but has no transportation, volunteers will go and pick them up, bring them to the dinner and then bring them back home again.

"We'll also do deliveries," said Mary Brenk. "There are so many shut-ins that may not have any family around, and for them this is almost the highlight of the year to get these dinners delivered to their homes."

Mary says it's not just a highlight for those coming in for the meal, but also for those cooking it.

"The first time we went in to volunteer for the dinner, it was such a great day," she said. "The feeling was so community-oriented and I just really think that the volunteers benefit from this even more than the people we do it for."

And the people they do it for come from "every walk of life" according to the Brenks, who see people at the dinner who are there for financial reasons, for traveling difficulties, because they don't want to cook, they don't have any family around or they just simply like going there.

And even with 450 attendees, Mary says the dinner continues to go very smoothly as many of the volunteers for the dinner have been doing it every year since the church started doing it over 10 years ago.

"You have the guy who just does the stuffing, the lady who just does the yams, and so it just runs so smoothly," she said, adding that Central Market is making the meal more affordable by either donating some food or providing it at cost.

Although money collected through the free will donation will go towards covering the cost of the meal, Matt Brenk says any surplus will go into Holy Rosary's general fund. "I think what we want to do is start purchasing some new roasters -- some of them are getting pretty old," he said.

Holy Rosary is located at 1043 Lake Avenue in Detroit Lakes.

For those who would like a meal delivered to them or would like transportation to the event, call Holy Rosary at 847-1393.

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