Volunteers help bring positive vibes to Onalaska/Holmen Community Thanksgiving Dinner

ONALASKA, Wis. (WKBT) – Some people chose to not have their Thanksgiving feast at home.

Instead, they wanted to dine with other folks at community dinners across the area.

You have your music, your customers and your volunteers.

And then you have that one volunteer who goes above and beyond to serve their community like a ninja.

“They’re like, ‘oh yeah, Ninja can do it,'” volunteer Ninja Cvetkova said. ‘”We’ll just throw her over there. She can handle it. It’s not a big deal.'”

Ninja lept into the role of lead volunteer.

“They volunteer me for everything,” she said.

Despite this being only her second year helping at the Onalaska/Holmen community dinner.

“I try not to get so caught up with talking to customers, only because I want to be able to help everybody as fast as I can,” Ninja said.

And doing so by putting in thousands of steps — more than 10,000 — to be a helping hand to the community.

“I’m all over the place,” Ninja said.

Pic Onalaska Tgiving Dinner

There wasn’t even a Thanksgiving dinner in this facility at this time last year because of the pandemic.

But organizers say this year, they are so excited to welcome back both volunteers and customers.

“It’s awesome that we’re in our 11th annual (community dinner),” co-founder Jean Lunde said.

Lunde says 67 volunteers are preparing 1,600 meals.

And despite there being worker shortages almost everywhere, she says there was no problem recruiting volunteers.

“They want to get out and enjoy life,” Lunde said. “Volunteers are absolutely gracious in this community. We love our volunteers.”

And at the end of the day, Ninja says she’s proud of the grind.

“Them considering me a trustworthy volunteer, I can handle anything they throw at me.”

Due to COVID mitigation strategies, Lunde says masks were strongly recommended.

Customers were not allowed to touch plates or food while being served.