OHS Auto Shop serves free Thanksgiving dinner to over 200

OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee High School Brahman Auto Shop prepared and served a free Thanksgiving dinner to more than 200 people in the Okeechobee community on Nov. 28.

Lake Okeechobee News/Richard Marion
About 250 meals were prepared and served during the Brahman Auto Shop’s Community Thanksgiving event at Okeechobee High School on Nov. 28.

“We fed around 250 people,” said OHS auto-shop teacher Jason Anderson. “That includes all three firehouses, sheriff’s office, dispatchers from the Emergency Operations Center, hospital, nursing home, city fire and city police.”

The dinner, which was hosted at Okeechobee High School in the cafeteria, was first held last year when Mr. Anderson discussed the idea of doing something on Thanksgiving for Okeechobee residents.

“One day I just thought about doing something for the needy for Thanksgiving,” said Mr. Anderson. “Talked to my wife about it and she was on board. We both agreed to open it to the entire community, not only for the less fortunate. Next I spoke to my students to see if I had their support as well, and once I knew I had the help needed, we got approval from the school and we were off and running.”

Those who came by the high school were handed a menu once they sat down in the cafeteria. They were able to choose what they wanted and a helper would come take the menu and deliver it to the kitchen. Once their plate was complete, the food along with a drink was delivered to the table, all completely free of charge.

Lake Okeechobee News/Richard Marion
Volunteers sacrificed their personal time on Thanksgiving to help prepare meals in the early morning hours of Nov. 28.

Mr. Anderson and Okeechobee County Sheriff Noel Stephen met at the high school at 5 a.m. on the morning of Thanksgiving. Like last year, Sheriff Noel Stephen again agreed to help out by cooking all the meat needed for the Thanksgiving dinner.

“I have to thank Sheriff Stephen for cooking for us,” said Mr. Anderson. “Also I want to thank Kodi Stephen, Donny Raney, Steve Jennifer, Austin Lafferty, Mary Gammill, a lot of high school kids, and a lot of family and friends to help deliver and get these meals out there.”

This marks the second year the Thanksgiving dinner was held at OHS and Mr. Anderson says he plans to continue for as long as he can.

“A big thank-you to all the sponsors for helping make this happen,” concluded Mr. Anderson. “Without them, it would be hard to make all this happen.”

Richard Marion is a staff writer and photographer at Lake Okeechobee News and can be reached at rmarion@newszap.com.

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