Dubuque woman serves thousands for Thanksgiving - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque woman serves thousands for Thanksgiving

Dubuque (KWWL) -- Many find Thanksgiving as an opportunity to give back to those who are less fortunate. One volunteer in Dubuque, Donna Ginter, has been helping others for almost fifty years.

Making, plating and delivering thousands of Thanksgiving meals takes a lot of planning, hundreds of volunteers, and 70 turkeys. Ginter started her yearly Thanksgiving giving tradition in 1961 offering free meals to those who need them on Thanksgiving.

"There's a need for it in this town. Definitely a need. Honest to god. And you don't know that until you start delivering then you find out where the need is," Ginter said.

Volunteers help drive more than 80 routes delivering more than 1,650 meals.

"I just enjoy seeing everyone getting to celebrate Thanksgiving like we do or getting together with family. And for those folks who don't necessarily have a family in town, we're happy to bring Thanksgiving right to them," volunteer Angela Gallogly said.

Residents at one drop-off location say they're thankful to get the meals and eat together on Thanksgiving.

"A lot of times we don't get to see one another because of work or personality conflicts or what have you. For Thanksgiving, we're thankful to be with one another," Rick Baumover, who has been getting Donna's meals for seven years, said."Without Donna, it would probably be really quiet on Thanksgiving. We'd probably just watch football and have a frozen pizza."

Volunteers say they can see the joy a little bit of food can bring.

"They're anxiously awaiting it. They're looking forward to it," volunteer Nancy Kutsch said.

"She's just a blessing and God willing, she keeps doing this for everyone," Baumhover said.

"Times are tough, and there's so many people laid off. I had a lot of families here today. A lot of children here today. So that's why you keep doing it," Ginter said.

Ginter and her army of volunteers also serve dinner at the Knights of Columbus in Dubuque. Ginter said they served far more people than they were expecting this year.  Ginter says she'll keep the tradition as long as she's healthy and volunteers keep coming to help.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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