It's a Thanksgiving tradition that has spanned almost three decades, and tomorrow, the Knights of Columbus and hundreds of volunteers will spend their holiday serving up turkey dinners in Kearney — some traveling from thousands of miles away, just to help out and give back.
For former Minden resident Tina Haight —who drives 1,630 miles from Watertown, Mass., with her daughter every single year for this event — it's all in the spirit of the season.
"For us, it's just one of the amazing things that we are fortunate that we are able to do," Haight said. "We started because we felt that we were blessed with everything that we had, and we wanted to be able to give back to the community what we've received — because we've had hard times — so to be able to come back and give something back to the community, for us, it's just unreal."
The entirely free dinner is made possible mostly through donations from Kearney residents and businesses, Knights of Columbus Publicity Chairman Gailen Kotrous says.
"A lot of the stuff that we do get is donated, and that's great," he said. "Kearney is a very, very generous community, and a lot of our merchants will step right up and help us out."
Haight and her daughter, Jes, have spent every Thanksgiving for the past 18 years volunteering for the Knights, and she says that their family has gotten used to it.
"Our family has learned to kind of work around our time here, because this for us is the most important part of our Thanksgiving — to give to others — so our family will then have a later Thanksgiving dinner so that we can have dinner with them," she said.
Dinner will be served from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Thursday at the Knights of Columbus in Kearney, and they will even make deliveries to those who can't make it.
For more information, contact the Knights of Columbus at 1 900 (308) 237-4255.