THANKFUL THURSDAYS — Kane Eagles Club is again serving free Thanksgiving dinner

Photo by Ted Lutz — The Kane Eagles Club is preparing to serve its free Thanksgiving Day dinner for residents in the community. The group of volunteers includes, left to right: Barb Gadley-Cheeks, club secretary and chairman of the dinner; and Patty Harrity and Chuck Sherwood, club members.
By: 
Ted Lutz
Staff Writer

Most Kane area families will gather around a dinner table Thursday for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
Some local residents, however, do not have the means to buy all the "fixings" to cook a complete Thanksgiving dinner. 
Many others — especially senior citizens — are all alone on Thanksgiving Day and can't enjoy the warmth and joy of the family-oriented holiday.
That's where the Kane Eagles Club comes in.
The organization serves the needy and lonely residents of the Kane community by offering a free Thanksgiving dinner at its clubrooms at 238 Chase St. at Bayard Street.
The Eagles Club on Thursday will be providing a Thanksgiving dinner to over 225 community members. 
Named in honor of founder Linda Haight, the Thanksgiving Dinner has been served at the club for over 20 years.
"We're people helping people," Barb Gadley-Cheeks said in describing the efforts of the Eagles Club to provide a Thanksgiving dinner for all.
Many residents and businesses in the Kane area make donations to help offset the costs for the dinner.
Gadley-Cheeks, the secretary at the 500-member club, said: "anyone and everyone" is welcome to enjoy a free Thanksgiving dinner Thursday beginning at 1 p.m. at the Eagles.
She is the chairman of the event.
Some residents register by calling the club at 837-9422. Some simply "walk in," Gadley-Cheeks said.
The Eagles Club also delivers Thanksgiving dinners to those who are unable to come out. Deliveries begin at noon Thursday. 
Members of the club also are busy Thursday providing transportation for "shut-ins" who prefer to enjoy their Thanksgiving dinner at the club with "other people," Gadley-Cheeks said.
The Thanksgiving dinner, of course, includes turkey. More than 30 turkeys are cooking today, Gadley-Cheeks said.
The meal also includes mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas and carrots, gravy, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls and the dessert favorite — pumpkin pie.
"It's just a traditional Thanksgiving dinner," Gadley-Cheeks modestly said.
It's much, much more.
Club members give up their own family Thanksgiving Day gatherings to prepare, serve and deliver the meals.
"A lot of people are revved up," Gadley-Cheeks said in describing club members who are volunteering. "They're excited to help." 
Elderly residents without families in the area have a place to enjoy Thanksgiving dinners. Senior citizens who can't leave home due to their physical limitations or medical issues can have a complete Thanksgiving dinner delivered.
"Everything's free," Gadley-Cheeks said. "You don't have to pay for anything."
Some who receive a free dinner from the Eagles Club make donations. One such recent donor touched the heart of Gadley-Cheeks.
"This little old lady reached in her purse and pulled out a dollar," Gadley-Cheeks said. As she handed the bill to Gadley-Cheeks, the woman said: "Here, this is for you."
"I had a good feeling," Gadley-Cheeks said. "We're making a difference. We're making Thanksgiving brighter for many of our residents."

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