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Montgomery Lions Club to host free turkey dinner

By Staff | Nov 23, 2016

MONTGOMERY – Each year The Lions Club offers a free Thanksgiving Dinner at the Lions Club Hall at 63 South Main Street in Montgomery, on Thanksgiving Day from 11-2. The menu features turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, corn, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie with carry-out options or free delivery in the Montgomery area for those who are unable to travel outside their homes.

According to Lions Club co-chair Norman Kobbe, this year marks about the fifteenth year of the event. He said the idea was proposed by fellow Lions Danny Hoffner and Rob Van Why. Kobbe commented, “It was a need we saw that several elderly people couldn’t get out for dinner and it was our way of giving back to the community for their support. We’ve been very lucky in sixty years of the Lions Club and we’ve gotten great support.”

In a typical year the Lions Club serves anywhere from 100-200 dinners. Kobbe said the numbers fluctuate from year to year, and the cause seems to be the weather. When the weather is good and people can travel, the number of dinners served tends to be lower. In years when the weather prevents people from traveling to or from Montgomery, the number tends to be higher.

About a dozen members cook and serve the Dinner in the Lions Club Hall with the help of the Leo Club and the Boy Scouts, both organizations that the Lions Club sponsors. Some members of the community who aren’t Lions Club members enjoy helping with the dinner simply because they want to give back to the community. They also get support from local organizations, as well.

All the turkeys are donated by Koppers, Inc. The Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Company donates the potatoes and gravy, as well as their large kitchen for preparing and cooking the dinner. The Lions Club also receives monetary donations from Montgomery’s Weis Markets and the American Legion Bower-Decker Post 251 Ladies Auxiliary. These donations are used to purchase all of the other trimmings for the meal.

According to Kobbe, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, he and his co-chair Melvin “Oak” Alexander are in charge of cooking the turkeys. Fellow Lions Club members help to bone the turkeys that night after their usual weekly meeting.

On Thanksgiving morning the cooking resumes at seven in the morning, and then everything is transferred to the Lions Club Hall to be served. The members also deliver dinner to Houston Ridge, a housing complex for elderly citizens next to Pumpkin Center.

Kobbe said the Lions enjoy the event. “We like to have people come in and see the Hall. We’ve gotten new members through the dinner and they see what we do. A lot of dinners are taken out; about half eat-in and half take-out. Most people are elderly that participate.” He was quick to add that everyone is welcome.