Dyani Peterson was thankful for the opportunity to host her parents for the day.
On Thursday, the smell of turkey—23 turkeys to be exact—was in the air at Laura Baker Services Association's Millard Hall as families from across the Twin Cities region came together for the 11th annual community Thanksgiving dinner.
Peterson was one of many Laura Baker residents and a regular attendee of the annual dinner to host family members. Her parents made the trip to Northfield through snowy weather from their Minneapolis home. The family said they were thankful for their faith and a chance to spend the holiday together.
Family, friends and food topped the lists of thanks for many at the event.
Lance Stratton, another Laura Baker resident and regular attendee of the dinner, was just happy to have a relatively easy day to sit and chat with friends. With a smile spread across his face, he told a table of mostly Laura Baker residents how sometimes it's just nice to have a break from the daily routine.
That's what officials at Laura Baker like to hear.
"It's our way of giving back to the community," said Hans Olsen, Laura Baker's volunteer coordinator and organizer of the dinner.
All year, Olsen said, people graciously assist the organization through donations and volunteer work. This a chance to say thanks to all those people, he said.
The turkeys were donated by local businesses and prepared by volunteers. Most of them were eaten at the event alongside the large amounts of stuffing, dressing and gravy.
Some meals, though, were delivered by volunteers to families around Northfield who were unable to attend the event and were unable to supply a meal for themselves. Volunteers also acted as chauffeurs to those who wanted to attend but had limited transportation.
The event for the volunteers, as it is for the residents and their families, is becoming an annual occurrence. Each year, volunteers enjoy changing their roles in the process, all of which are rewarding in their own ways, they said.