Steamboat residents thankful for community meal |

Steamboat residents thankful for community meal

Teresa Ristow
Sarah Snook, right, a United Way volunteer, dishes out gravy to Susan Bell on Thursday during Routt County United Way's community Thanksgiving dinner at the Steamboat Springs community center.
Austin Colbert

— Students in Shannon Forbes’ third-grade classroom washed their hands and gloved up in class earlier this week to put together six dishes for the annual community Thanksgiving dinner.

The students help prepare pumpkin pie, potatoes and almost everything but a turkey, and Forbes was on hand Thursday as a volunteer to help dish out some of the deserts.

“It’s was a way to talk about gratitude in the classroom,” said Forbes, who was volunteering at the event for the first time.

Hosted annually for more than 15 years by the Routt County United Way, Thursday afternoon’s dinner brought volunteers and hungry residents from throughout the area to the Steamboat Springs Community Center in a spirit of community and thankfulness.

The event got off to a smooth start early in the afternoon thanks to an influx of food donations received in the past week and more than enough volunteers to help carve turkeys and dish up plates, according to Kate Nowak, Routt County United Way executive director.

“The community just rallied with donations,” said Nowak, who acknowledged having been a little concerned last Thursday when signups for donations were lagging behind the previous year.

In all, generous residents provided 30 turkeys and nearly 30 of every other dish hitting plates. Businesses including Freshies, Winona’s and Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. also provided donations of food and materials, while Go Alpine offered free rides to the event.

Residents began gathering just before 1 p.m., and by 1:30, the parking lots of the community center and the adjacent transit center were nearly full.

“There were some people lined up for sure,” said Nowak, who expected the event to feed 775 people.

Steamboat Springs residents Dan Hallstrom and Becca Mallatt were among the first to fill their plates and sit down.

“I think it’s a really unique thing,” said Hallstrom, who was attending for the second time. “It’s nice to feel the camaraderie amongst the people here.”

Mallatt heard about the dinner from Hallstrom and was trying it out for the first time.

“I didn’t even know about it,” she said. “I think it’s pretty awesome for people who don’t have a big family meal planned.”

A few tables away from Hallstrom and Mallatt were 40-year Steamboat residents Ron and Lois Pollard and friend Barry Crossan, all regular attendees of the annual dinner.

“It brings community together,” Crossan said. “It’s really refreshing to see how many people come out.”

Lois Pollard said the couple doesn’t have family in town, and the threat of snow stopped them from considering a trip to Denver to spend the holiday with family there.

“After this many years in Steamboat,” Ron Pollard said,” this is family.”

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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