As many of us are preparing for our Thanksgiving celebrations at home, a group of local volunteers are traveling to North Dakota to make sure pipeline protesters have full meals for the holiday.
Like many, sisters Ivy and Maya Engen are traveling for Thanksgiving. But instead of going to grandma's house, they're getting on a bus with a group of about 10 volunteers heading to the pipeline protests in North Dakota.
"I am really, really excited,” Maya said. “This is going to be fun.”
The group left early Wednesday morning from West Salem.
"We were like, ‘We need to do something,’” one of the volunteers, Cassondra Trautsch, said. “We had a call to arms kind of, and we have this great bus, which really enables us to take a lot out there and bring a lot of people out there, so we started talking about it and made it happen."
They packed hundreds of pounds of donated food on top of the bus, including 4,500 bread rolls from a community effort led by Uptowne cafe.
"I said, I'm going to ask the community if they'd come together and help me make bread for peace," owner of Uptowne Cafe, Adrian Lipscombe, said. "No matter if it's for the protesters, for cops, whoever's out there, all the authorities , that we would come together and at least break bread together.""
"We're talking about a bunch of donations, 350 pounds of meat, that we got donated from people around the area,” she said. “Organic Valley donated a lot to us, milk and ghee and stuff."
The group is planning on cooking all the meals they can, and donating the rest of the meat to other groups that are already there cooking for the protesters to feed as many people as they can.
"(We’ll be) organizing and cooking, and making sure everyone has full bellies and is really blessed for Thanksgiving,” Trautsch said.
“We're going to share with everyone!” Ivy said.
“Because it's about Thanksgiving, we're going to share,” Maya said.
Trautsch said the volunteers will also help build permanent structures for the winter for the protesters who plan to stay.
The group will be coming back this Sunday.