Community Thanksgiving dinner feeds soul as well as stomach |

Community Thanksgiving dinner feeds soul as well as stomach

Routt County United Way isn’t letting a rise in COVID-19 cases stop them from providing Thanksgiving dinner to the community. This year, the nonprofit is giving out to-go meals, which will be available for anyone in Routt County to pick up at the Steamboat Springs Community Center from 1-5 p.m. Nov. 25.

After weighing their options, Routt County United Way Executive Director Kate Nowak and her team decided on a drive-thru-style event this year, similar to what they hosted last year at Snowbowl. Guests can simply drive up to the community center, where they will be greeted by a volunteer who will see how many meals the person needs and then bring Thanksgiving dinner straight out to the car.

“We’re very fortunate to have so many volunteers — some of whom are returning from last year — who will work in the kitchen with us, and we’re super thankful for Mountain Valley Bank, which sponsors us and helps us put on a wonderful event for the community,” Nowak said.

Five-hundred hot meals will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, and 60 volunteers will alternate two-hour shifts throughout the day to ensure that everyone has a hot meal this Thanksgiving.

If you go

What: Routt County United Way hosts community Thanksgiving dinner

When: 1-5 p.m. Nov. 25

Where: Drive-thru style at Steamboat Springs Community Center, 1605 Lincoln Ave.

Cost: Free

For more: To volunteer, visit

Nowak explained this year’s dinner is different because all of the food is donation-based from the community. Cooked turkeys, mashed potatoes — regular and sweet — green bean casserole, rolls with butter, stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy all will be served. And don’t forget to save room for dessert, because there’s a variety of pies, as well.

Volunteers are still needed to provide mashed sweet potatoes and five cooked turkeys, at around 18 pounds or more, but for the most part, Nowak believes the community really stepped up to the plate this season.

“People are very gracious. They’re really signing up to help make this happen,” Nowak said. “We’re a staff of three, so we definitely can’t do it on our own.”

Doug Matthews has been volunteering with the community dinner for several years, helping out in the kitchen.

“I’ve always volunteered, and this is a great event,” he said. “It brings all kinds of people together, especially when we can do it in person. That’s the best because you can see tables of 10 people who are all different getting to know each other.”

Everyone is welcome to stop by and pick up dinner, and Nowak is expecting that all 500 meals will get snagged.

“We have people come from all walks of life,” she said. “Some don’t want to cook; some really need a meal. Sometimes, we have homeless people or young people who aren’t with family on the holiday. We see workers come through and members of the immigrant community. This really does meet a need, and it’s the most heartwarming event that we do. It feels like we feed souls as well as stomachs.”

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