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November 15, 2012 05:52 PM

Turkey Hunters Donate Birds To Banquet

Sioux Falls, SD

We're quickly approaching Thanksgiving.  While many are planning for their family gathering and the large meal, others will struggle to put food on the table that day.  In fact, last year, 300 people ate at The Banquet in Sioux Falls, and a similar crowd is expected this year.

Thanks to a generous donation, The Banquet now has plenty of turkey to serve.

The local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation bought a truckload of turkeys.  The birds aren't going home with chapter members; instead, they'll become the cornerstone of the Thanksgiving meal at The Banquet.

"A lot of us hunt and primarily turkey hunt.  And as we all know, we're coming up on the Thanksgiving holiday and we try to give something back and this is the way we do it," chapter member Ron Schauer said.

The cost for those turkeys was about $380.  But those at the banquet say what those turkeys will provide is priceless.

"It's very important.  For a lot of folks that eat with us, they have no family to celebrate the holiday with.  They have no means of putting that holiday meal on the table for a family member.  This is a place they can come and not only eat that holiday meal but also share in the holiday atmosphere," Tamera Jerke-Liesinger of The Banquet said.

The Banquet plans to prepare 32 of the 35 donated turkeys for the Thanksgiving meal.  The remaining turkeys will go to future meals.

"What we've noticed is a lot of the folks who eat with us do have jobs.  But they're working hard, paying their rent, paying their day care, and by the time they do that they don't have money to put a meal on the table," Jerke-Liesinger said.

And as for the group of outdoors enthusiasts behind the donation, they plan to keep offering a helping hand.

"It feels great.  In fact, we actually signed up here to come back and serve here later in the year.  A group of our committee is going to come back and serve a meal to the people," Schauer said.

The Banquet can always use other donations, such as pumpkin pie, for the Thanksgiving meal.

The Banquet is also hosting a run and bike for food event on Thanksgiving.

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