Thanksgiving can be a lonely time without someone to share it with, so one Tonto Basin man, along with the Elks Lodge, has orchestrated a Thanksgiving feast so no one has to be without a warm meal and a warm smile.
Bob Troutman will spend nearly 50 hours cooking and organizing the Elks Lodge 5th Annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner. But Troutman is not alone, he has 20 people helping with cooking and 50 volunteers serving the expected 500 people and delivering more than 125 meals to the homebound.
“Thanksgiving is a very lonely time, and a lot of seniors have nobody. We give them a dinner and a chance to meet people,” he said.
The dinner is open to anyone, regardless of income or life situation, Nov. 27 at noon at the Elks Lodge, 1206 N. Beeline Highway.
“No place else is doing it or could do it,” Troutman said.
Around $3,000 is raised during the year and donations will be accepted at the door.
All of the recipes are Troutman’s own concoctions. Volunteer and Elk member Dan Lane said Troutman is the man who does all the work, making the event possible.
But the volunteers get credit for cleaning up the kitchen.
Troutman says cleanup is surprisingly easy with so many volunteers and the kitchen is spotless by 5 p.m.
“It is because of an army of volunteers,” Troutman said. “Last year for example, a family with two kids came and said they wanted to help.”
Organizers expect a 25-percent increase in attendance this year and so they will prepare 400 pounds of turkey and 80 cherry, apple and pumpkin pies.
Seatings will be at noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Call the lodge secretary at (928) 474-2572 for free tickets or for delivery to the homebound.