November 9, 2004 > Thanksgiving at LOV
Thanksgiving at LOV
by Praveena Raman
The League of Volunteers (LOV) in Newark will be hosting their 16th annual Thanksgiving feast on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday November 25th from noon to 3:00 p.m. at LOV Community Service Center 35233- C Newark Blvd in Newark (in the Lido Faire shopping center - Newark & Cedar Blvds.).
In 1979 Shirley Sisk, Gene Baranawski and Dr. Joe Roberts founded LOV to fill a gap left by cutbacks in school funding while at the same time promoting volunteerism in the community. Through the years LOV has been sponsoring musical programs for the community and regular events like Bingo for the seniors providing many opportunities for the community to volunteer their time and talents. For the past sixteen years LOV has also been organizing a unique Thanksgiving feast for the community on Thanksgiving Day.
Open to all community members in the Tri-City area this feast is provided free of charge not only to those without financial or housing resources, but also those who do not have family or friends to spend the day with and otherwise would be on their own. "Last year we served 4,179 meals both here at our Community Services Center and to the homebound" says Shirley Sisk, Executive Director at LOV. "This year besides the feast at the community center we will continue to serve the homebound in the larger geographic area of Fremont, Newark, Union City, Hayward, San Leandro, San Lorenzo and Castro Valley." To make it easier for guests without transportation to enjoy the day LOV provides "Turkey Taxis" with volunteers picking up people at four different locations in the community.
Along with food, guests will be entertained by singers and dancers; games and crafts for children will also be featured. "This is a wonderfully warm-hearted community event" says Knuti Van Hoven, who has with family and friends provided the main entertainment for the past 16 years. "There are so many volunteers you cannot make out who came for the dinner and who is a volunteer. Anyone who wants a sense of community for Thanksgiving is here." Coming here year after year and singing often for two to three hours, Knuti has made many new friends and has wonderful memories.
About fifteen years ago as Knuti was singing at LOV's Thanksgiving feast, she suddenly found a toddler wrapped around her legs intently listening to her song. Last year at this same function a lady with a young girl approached Knuti after her performance and asked her if she remembered them. Looking at the lady Knuti suddenly remembered her as the mother of the toddler. The toddler had now grown up and was a senior at High School. It was a wonderful reunion. Apart from Knuti and her friends this year students of Betty Cole (a LOV board member) and the Newark Memorial High School's Ballet Folklorico group will also be performing.
Even though this event is a partnership between LOV and 25 other community organizations in the Tri-City area, it is still heavily dependent on the donations and resources from the community to make the feast a success and serve all community members. According to Shirley Sisk there is a vital need for food donations and many volunteer spots that need to be filled. "We have only 60 promised turkeys and we need 250. We also need ham, instant mashed potatoes, stove top dressings and pies." People can either donate food items or give money so that LOV can buy the items that are in short supply. LOV is also looking for good clean clothes, toiletry articles and baby supplies for their Thanksgiving Store.
For more information about the feast or to volunteer or donate or see a list of items needed visit www.lov.org or call (510) 793-5683.