• Look ahead for opportunities to share community Thanksgiving celebrations
The annual thanksgiving donation program gave out 202 baskets to serve 672 people on Saturday, a count that matches with last year in terms of the baskets, but an increase in the number of individuals it served.
The Kachemak Bay Lions Club Annual Thanksgiving Basket Program serves families and individuals in need by providing turkeys or hams and all the fixings for the annual meal. Coordinator Fran Van Sant said the community was its consistently generous self in the many donations that came in, and the volunteer help.
Kachemak Bay Lions purchased 150 turkeys and received the rest in donations. Below are opportunities to join others at community meals:
• Caribou Family Restaurant, 672 East End Road, offers its annual free traditional Thanksgiving dinner. They will start serving at noon, and continue until the food is gone. Diners may bring a side dish, but it is not required. Donations will be accepted for the Homer Community Food Pantry.
• VFW Post 10221 in Anchor Point holds a Thanksgiving dinner starting at 3 p.m. Thursday. Bring your favorite dish, or just yourself. For more information, call 235-4101
• Refuge Chapel, 397 East Pioneer Ave., offers a free turkey dinner with all the fixings. Serving starts at 1 p.m. Thanksgiving Day.
• Homer Elks Lodge, 215 W. Jenny Lane, serves a traditional Thanksgiving dinner from noon-3 p.m. Thursday for Elks members, guests, veterans, active members of the military and their families. The cost is $10; children, veterans and active military eat free.
• Land’s End Resort on the Homer Spit will have their annual Thanksgiving Buffet feast from noon – 5 p.m. Call 235-0406 for more price and information.
• Alcoholic Anonymous hosts a potluck across the street from Don Jose’s. The Thanksgiving Day potluck begins after the noon meeting and they will remain open until 10 p.m. For more information, call 235-6822.
• Homer even offers an opportunity to make sure the annual stuffing doesn’t result in weight gain: The fourth-annual 5K Turkey Trot starts at 10 a.m. Friday at Two Sisters Bakery. You don’t have to jog if you don’t want to. It’s a “run, walk or stroll” around town the morning after Thanksgiving. The run is sponsored by the Kachemak Bay Runners, with food donations to the Homer Food Pantry acting as an entry fee.
Christmas opportunities to volunteer
Even before Thanksgiving Day was over, Shari Daugherty and her team of elves were gearing up for the annual Share the Spirit Program. Get into the season by helping to share in the spirit of volunteerism and giving. Daugherty said they need a lot of helping hands and generous donors.
Share the Spirit: Monday opened the application process for the annual Christmas food basket and gift-giving program. Pick up an application at human service agencies, such as the Homer Food Pantry, Salvation Army, Head Start, WIC or any other agency that can verify an individual or family’s need. You can also pick up an application at your local church. Applications will be accepted until Dec. 14.
• Monday also marked the first day Adopt-a-Family applications were made available at Wells Fargo, at the entrance of the bank. This is an opportunity to anonymously adopt a family to play secret Santa for, providing gifts based on information about gender, ages and sizes.
• The Christmas Food Drive runs from now until Dec. 20. Look for the big red barrels at Fritz Creek General Store, Kachemak Wholesale, Safeway, Save U More and Ulmer’s. These businesses collect perishable foods for the Christmas baskets.
Daugherty said they also gratefully collect homemade canned foods, such as salmon and jelly. Each container must be labeled and dated, or it will not be included in a basket.
“In addition to being holiday-specific — like cranberry sauce and yams — what’s really important to keep in mind is providing canned foods that are meals,” she said. “We need things like ravioli, mac and cheese, tuna and chili.”
• Giving Trees start going up after Thanksgiving: These gift trees will be displayed at First National Bank Alaska, Homer Bookstore, Kachemak Gear Shed, Safeway, Timeless Toys, Total Office, Ulmer’s, Wells Fargo Bank and Alaska USA Federal Credit Union. Take an ornament bearing a child’s name and purchase a gift to return to the Wells Fargo Tree by Dec. 20.
• The annual Share the Spirit Spaghetti Feed is Dec. 11, and acts as a fundraiser for Share the Spirit. Homestead Restaurant owners Rick and Sharlene Cline stepped up to volunteer as this year’s coordinators. Businesses can call 235-7466 to place orders for delivery or pick up at the Elks Lodge. The Spaghetti Feed will serve both lunch and dinner, with the Homer Chamber of Commerce luncheon taking place upstairs. Raffle prize drawings and Christmas entertainment will spice up the Homer tradition.
• Lots of helping hands are needed for wrapping gifts and packing food baskets on Friday, Dec. 21. Things get underway at 9 a.m. in the Homer High School Commons. Daugherty said volunteers don’t need to call ahead, and if you can’t get there at 9 a.m., just come when you can.
“If you can’t get there until noon, that’s OK. There’s plenty of work for everyone to do,” Daugherty said. “We need all the volunteers we can get because we’ll be putting it all together in one day.” One crew packs baskets while another crew wraps gifts.
• On Dec. 22, food baskets and gifts will be distributed from the Homer High School loading dock, on the west side of the building. Daugherty said applicants are given a specific time to arrive to collect their packages so that people don’t have to stand in line in the cold. She needs volunteers to help distribute these as well.
And don’t forget that it’s not just individuals who make a difference in sharing the spirit. Office groups, service groups or friends can team up to make a difference by signing up for specific tasks.
For more information on any of these events or with questions, call Share the Spirit, 235-7466.
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