Salute Our Heroes: Community Thanksgiving Foundation President coordinates thousands of meals to be delivered

Salute Our Heroes: Community Thanksgiving Foundation President coordinates thousands of meals to be delivered
Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 9:33 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - David Braun lives to help, especially on Thanksgiving.

“It was a few years back when they started putting out the call asking for some younger people to take over to make sure this was going to go on for more years and just when I heard that, it was a calling to me.”

Braun eventually became President of the Community Thanksgiving Dinner Foundation, a position he’s held for four years now.

“I’ve helped out with the dinner a few years before that, been on the board a couple and then growing up I was here and there when I could come in and help.”

This year’s 54th annual dinner saw 3,300 meals with turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes and other holiday foods delivered around the city.

Braun said the support from the community and their partners made his job easier, but in Covid times, they had to make adjustments.

“I mean, we had to make some tough decisions like not having in-house dining which was my favorite part of the whole meal is just seeing everybody eating together and chatting but we really just had a good time trying to figure out these challenges and make sure that we’re still offering a meal.”

“No One Need Dine Alone” is a phrase often said by Braun, especially on a day meant to bring people together.

“I love Topeka and this community. I plan on being here as long as I can. I grew up and I just enjoy watching all those people I grew up with together make this happen, all the people I respect and look up to really come together on this meal and it’s really nice to just watch everybody work these problems out and get these meals out. We all do it as a sense of giving.”

Although they may not be face to face, they’re still together in the thanksgiving spirit..

“They might have their meal alone but they’re dining with the 400 volunteers that came out throughout the week to help put this meal together, the 200 delivery drivers that are delivering it and the other 3,300 people eating,” he said. “We’re all going to be eating the same meal together. It might not be in the same place but they’re not dining alone. They’re dining with the community of Topeka.”

Volunteers arrive early to prepare meals for Community Thanksgiving Dinner

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