Mission serves up Thanksgiving mealBy Lucia Suarez
STAFF WRITER | November 21,2012For Kaitlyn Gawet, volunteering to serve Thanksgiving dinner at the Open Door Mission has become second nature. She started
volunteering in the eighth grade and has been hooked ever since.
“I like the people, getting to know them,” she said. “I say I am a people person. I like talking to people.”
“You meet so many people,” she said. “It’s great.”
Now a freshman in college, Gawet was not going to miss it this year — so much that she missed some of her classes at the University of Tennessee to come home early.
“Technically we have tomorrow and Friday off,” the 18-year-old said on Wednesday. “I got home Monday. I couldn’t miss it.”
Gawet was one of a handful of volunteers serving food at the mission’s annual lunch on Wednesday. She was joined by many community members including Rutland City Mayor Christopher Louras and Rutland Sen. Kevin Mullin.
The meal — including 11 turkeys, 80 pounds of potatoes, 50 pounds of stuffing and about 40 pounds of green-bean casserole — was sponsored by the Poczobut Family in memory of Shawn Poczobut, who died in 2007.
Bonnie Allen, a family friend said they really love doing the meal at the mission, especially in memory of Shawn, because helping others was his life.
“Shawn was the giver, for everyone,” she said. “To the world, he was a giver.”
“People give money to the big organizations (but here) I can touch these people. ... It’s not just throwing money in a bucket.”
The Open Door Mission has been hosting the turkey day celebration since 1965, and every year it feels like family getting together, said executive director Sharon Russell.
“It you look around, its not like a shelter,” she said. “A lot of people are family. They know me, they know my staff.”
Creating a family environment is what they strive for at the mission, Russell said.
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