Turkey talk on hold this year | AspenTimes.com

Turkey talk on hold this year

While this Thanksgiving will be in part a day of thanks, there is a nonprofit organization in Glenwood Springs that will be intently focused on giving.

The Fraternal Order of Eagles, a national nonprofit with a chapter in Glenwood, will be providing free Thanksgiving dinner from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for anyone who wants to stop by.

Volunteers at the Eagle Lodge, 312 Seventh Street, will start work at 3:30 a.m. to prepare the dinner. They will use approximately 18 turkeys, 140 pounds of potatoes, 24 16-ounce cans of cranberry sauce, 40 pounds of corn, 18 dozen rolls and 40 pumpkin pies.

“We are going to work hard to ensure that anyone ” families, homeless people, even the volunteers ” gets fed properly on Thanksgiving,” said Donna Matthews, auxiliary president.

The Eagles have been running a free Thanksgiving dinner in Glenwood since 1984. According to Matthews, it is the only free dinner offered on Thanksgiving day in the valley. The service usually attracts anywhere from 200 to 300 residents.

While anyone is welcome, the Eagles aim the dinner at poor and homeless residents, and volunteers will be scouring Glenwood to try to recruit local homeless people to the dinner.

“The slogan for the Order of Eagles is ‘people helping people,'” Matthews said. “Thanksgiving is a great opportunity for us to implement that pol The Hickory House will not be serving its annual Thanksgiving Day dinner this year as the restaurant undergoes a remodeling job.

“We’re sorry we couldn’t get open [for Thanksgiving],” said Paul Dioguardi, who owns the Hickory House with his brother, Brian. “Next year will be bigger and better.”

The restaurant shut down last month for renovation and was not able to reopen in time for the Thanksgiving feast.

“We just want to renew our faith in this restaurant ” this place is just kind of falling down from front to back,” Dioguardi said. “We’ve redone everything, and we want to do it right.”

In addition to rebuilding the interior, the kitchen has been renovated to improve the cooking capacity and to speed up food delivery, he said. There will also be additional seating.

“We’re feeling the effects of not being open,” Dioguardi said. “But we’re doing it right ” everyone will like the way it looks and have a little more appreciation.

“This place is going to look awesome.”

The Dioguradis have been offering free Thanksgiving Day dinners for the community since they bought the Hickory House six years ago. But the tradition began some 20 years ago with the original owner, Bill Stone.

While the meals had been free, the restaurant requested $5 per plate, with donations benefiting the Aspen Buddy Program. Over 1,500 people attended last year’s meal at the Hickory House, Dioguardi said.

Jackie Unternahrer, executive director of the Aspen Buddy Program, said the group will not be affected by the loss of donations from the eatery.

“We are so tremendously grateful to the Hickory House’s support these past few years,” Unternahrer said. “We will not suffer one bit [without this year’s donation] because the community has been incredibly supportive of us this past year.”

The Hickory House will reopen in early December, and Dioguradi said they will definitely renew the traditional community Thanksgiving next year.

[Steve Benson’s e-mail address is sbenson@aspentimes.com]

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