Every year, the employees of the Southwest Behavioral Health Rim Guidance Center donate their money and time to prepare and serve a full Thanksgiving meal for the center’s consumers and their families. The 70-plus employees see this as a way to give back to their consumers.
“We don’t see this tradition as a hand out, but a hand up and a thank you to our customers, many of whom have been served by the facility for a number of years,” said Nanci Stone, vice president of Rim Guidance Center.
The employees use their own personal funds to buy food, prepare it themselves using their family recipes, and then serve it at three seatings throughout the designated day.
This year, with the economy as it is, more than 200 guests are expected — a number that far exceeds the total of guests who have attended in previous years. The employees are not able to purchase the turkeys needed to feed such a large group.
It is estimated about 25 turkeys in all will be needed. The Rim Guidance staff would like to reach out to the community for funds to be used to purchase turkeys. The meal is Nov. 20, so in order to buy and get the turkeys thawed, donations are needed by Nov. 16.
Stone said Rim Guidance staff has been making the Thanksgiving dinner for their consumers and families for nine years.
Up until last year, the group was small enough it could be accommodated at the facility on the west end of Aero Drive, but it expanded so much last year, the meal was held at the Mount Cross Lutheran Church fellowship hall. It will be there again this year.
In addition to buying the food and doing the cooking and serving, the staff makes a special effort to decorate to give the setting a homey feel, she said. Arrangements are also made to provide transportation to the celebration.
Stone said the project was started as a way to say thank you to all the wonderful people the staff works with, provide a good meal and strengthen the sense of family for everyone.
The staff starts planning the meal in late September by looking what worked at the previous year’s dinner, what didn’t work and what is needed.
“For instance, we decided to make sure we have salads this year because some of the people are vegetarians,” Stone said. To spread the work around, committees are created.
“All the staff is delighted to do it,” Stone said.
To help, drop off a donation at Rim Guidance, 404 W. Aero Drive until 5 p.m., Friday, Nov. 13 or after 8 a.m., Monday, Nov. 16; Diane Roberson will also take calls from people wanting to donate, call her at (928) 595-1859. To learn more, contact Nanci Stone at the center, (928) 474-3303.
“This community has always been wonderful about pulling together to help,” Stone said.