▶️ Volunteer opportunities limited as Central Oregonians plan to give back on Thanksgiving

By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY

Leslie Koc will be spending her Thanksgiving serving others at Bethlehem Inn.

“We’re here to volunteer for people who are looking for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, and they may not have the where-with-all or the support system to create it for themselves,” said Koc, who will be joined by some of her fellow worshipers at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Church in Bend. 

But if you’re looking to do some good like Leslie, you might be out of luck.

At least on Thanksgiving.

Multiple community kitchens across Central Oregon have more than enough volunteers.

“The holidays are so much harder for folks maybe who are living on the edge, or who don’t have family nearby,” said Donna Burklo, program director for Family Kitchen. “It’s pretty beautiful when that many different community members are giving a try to see what they can do.”

Burklo says Family Kitchen has been booked for volunteers since October, and people are still expressing interest.

Even Bethlehem Inn had volunteers signed up a year in advance.

If anything, it’s a good problem to have.

“Thanksgiving, most people think about being thankful, having gratitude for everything that we have, and they’re looking to share and support others who may not,” Koc said. 

Koc said it’s all about supporting her community. She sees volunteering as a way to connect with people.

Serving a home cooked meal is just a bonus.

“To be with other people on Thanksgiving is real important, and if we can do that, whether it be the smile we’re serving, or knowing that we’re serving a delicious dinner and being able to enjoy part of that with them,” she said. “That really makes the difference for us.”

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