Frequently Asked Questions About the La Crosse Community Thanksgiving Dinner
1. Who sponsors the dinner?
- The dinner is put on BY the community FOR the community. LCTD is it’s own non-profit. Each monetary donation, whether it be $1 by an individual or $5,000 by a large corporation, is just as important to putting on the dinner. We raise all of the needed funds through donations from Individuals, Churches, Businesses, and Community Groups.
2. Does the city of La Crosse, or any one group, pay for the Dinner?
3. How many volunteers does it take to put on the dinner?
- It takes over 700 volunteers annually.
4. How many people are served?
- Approximately 3,000 meals are served on Thanksgiving, including carryouts, delivery and dining in with neighbors.
5. I have no way to get to the Dinner, is there transportation available?
- Yes, we have volunteers who sign up to provide transportation.
6. Who is invited to the LCTD to eat?
- EVERYONE in the La Crosse community is invited to enjoy a meal with their neighbors. We are all part of this wonderful community that we live in. The Dinner is for everyone, regardless of race, sex, gender, religion, social standing, or monetary needs.
7. How and why was the LCTD started?
- In 1982, four people had a dream to create a “Festival of Sharing” on Thanksgiving Day in the greater La Crosse area. There would be food, fellowship and worship. There would be no charge for the dinner and it would be available to everyone in a welcoming atmosphere. The dinner would be based on a Thanksgiving dinner held in Oshkosh, Wisconsin put on by Father Marty Karr and his organization called “A Place To Be”. The planning committee worked closely with the Salvation Army and Cooperative Campus Ministries to create a structure in which to plan and hold the dinner. The first year approximately 100 volunteers put on the dinner with donated food and financial contributions from numerous individuals and businesses. Stoffel Hall, which is part of the English Lutheran Church, hosted over 300 attendees on Thanksgiving Day 1982 for a traditional turkey dinner. On that day the tradition began of celebrating community on Thanksgiving Day and it continues today.
8. What if you are unable to volunteer on Thanksgiving day, are there other volunteer opportunities?
- Yes! Volunteers are needed on the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving. It takes a lot of preparation to serve 3,000 meals!
9. Is there a minimum age for volunteering?
- No, however young children do need to be supervised by an adult. If volunteering with children please take into consideration what area they would most enjoy volunteering in.
10. Can I eat at the dinner without making a donation?
11. Can I eat at the dinner and take a carryout home with me for later?
12. How many carryout dinners can I order for myself and my family if I cannot come to the La Crosse Center?
- As many dinners as you need to feed yourself and your family. We do encourage you to come down to the La Crosse Center so you can enjoy the holiday with others. We offer transportation to bring you there and back home if needed.
13. Am I allowed to tip?
- Although a tip is not necessary, all donations are accepted and appreciated.
14. Can I donate the day of the dinner?
- Yes, we have Donation boxes at the Dinner. You can also give your donation to any LCTD Volunteer on the day of the Dinner.
15. Where can I send monetary donations to?
- LCTD, PO Box 662, La Crosse WI54602. Monetary donations are accepted and appreciated year round.
16. Are monetary donations accepted only on Thanksgiving?
- No, donations are accepted and appreciated year round, to donate by credit card or paypal or checks can be mailed to: LCTD, Inc. P.O. Box 662, La Crosse, WI 54602-0662
17. Are you looking for people to join your Planning Committee?
- Always! We would love to have more members of our community join us as we prepare for next year’s Dinner! It takes a lot of time, energy and excitement to plan a dinner for 3,000 people.
18. Do you cook the Dinner?
- No, we contract with a caterer, and we receive donations of Fruit Punch, Green Beans, and Cranberries from churches and other organizations and individuals. We purchase some products and some others are donated.
19. Do you buy the pumpkins and gourds?
- No, those are all donated to the dinner. We rely heavily on donations for room and table decorations. We do our best to transform the banquet hall into a festive Thanksgiving dining room.
20. Will you always need volunteers?
- Yes, we cannot put on a Dinner of this size without the support of our community. There are volunteer opportunities prior to Thanksgiving Day if you are unavailable on Thanksgiving.
21. I tried to sign up for a volunteer spot, but I could not sign up. What can I do? Should I just come down and hope to be able to volunteer?
- Once a time slot has been filled, we will close that time slot. If you come down to the Dinner expecting to volunteer, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to find a spot for you. Your best plan of action is to sign up a bit earlier the next year.
22. What is the phone number that I can call to order dinners?
- This year the number is (608) 461-1544.
23. What is the deadline for calling for Dinners to be delivered?
- You can call up until the day before Thanksgiving.