Good Works: The Banquet | VideoAlan Miller | 3/1/2013
It`s called the Banquet. It`s every Thursday at 5:30.And each week, about 350 people show up for a meal because they really need it, or they just want some company. This is obviously too big for one congregation to handle regularly. That`s why churches, businesses, and other organizations take turns providing and serving throughout the year. This time, it was Knife River Corporation.
"It`s probably a little more work than we thought. But it`s good work. We enjoy doing it. We always get a wonderful team of employees to come out and help us, so many hands makes for little work," said Paulette Heringer with the Knife River Corporation.
To make it work each week, you need about 30 volunteers and a thousand dollar budget. That`s because there`s no skimping here. Guests are seated and served at their tables. There`s live music. And if you`re celebrating a birthday, you`ll get a song and a gift.
"It`s just one big happy family. We give hugs, we sit and listen to the guests who come through that door. A lot of them have been through a lot of trying times in their lives. And I think the most important part of volunteering is sitting and listening with a guest, hearing what they have to say, being there for them, holding their hand. Like I said, it boils down to just love," said coordinator Karla Sadowsky.
And that`s what motivates all the volunteers. Preparations begin four hours ahead of time. These are not professional chefs, although there`s one expert alongside them, offering suggestions and helping out. And in addition to dinner, the Great Plains Food Bank brings in items donated by stores and restaurants that people can take with them as they leave. So it turns into more than just one meal.
There`s always room for more organizations to help out. And if you can`t recruit 30 volunteers, Karla says she`ll find them for you. Just call Trinity Lutheran in Bismarck for more information. And Karla predicts that even more people will attend the Banquet in the future as people from other states come to look for work.
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