Anyone who wanted a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, or anyone alone for the holiday, had an option to have that meal and enjoy some company. Platte Valley Helping Hands a local non-profit organization offered Thanksgiving dinner, for no charge, at the Platte Valley Community Center on Thanksgiving Day, November 23. They also delivered meals to area homes. The volunteers working with Helping Hands last Thursday provided 173 delicious meals in our area.
Helping Hands was organized in 1996, initially to serve people in the valley facing medical challenges - recovering from surgery or illness, and those who have suffered an injury. They loan out a variety of medical equipment, offer rides to doctors appointments or area clinics, run errands and provide meals. The annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner became another kind of meal service offered by Platte Valley Helping Hands and it is now in its 27th year. From preparation to cooking to serving to delivery, and from set-up to clean up, Helping Hands relies on a network of volunteers that allow this wonderful event to be offered completely free.
Local businesses also gave generously to make this years dinner possible. The Wolf Hotel, Doug and Kathy Campbell, provided all of the turkeys and potatoes. Restauranteurs Cassie and Tommy Orduno, owners of Bella’s Bistro, the Saratoga Sandwich Company and SunnyCup, gave groceries worth several hundred dollars. The Platte Valley Community Center offered facilities for cooking and fellowship dining. The option to dine in had been suspended during the Covid years, but returned this year. PVCC Director, Joe Elder, made the use of those commercial grade kitchen facilities and the Great Hall available. He and his family generously provided their time and efforts throughout the day. The Chamber of Commerce and Director, Amanda Knotwell, provided publicity for the dinner. And many others - about 30 people in all - made the Community Thanksgiving Dinner a great success.
The services offered by Helping Hands requires a lot of labor throughout the year. Everyone is a volunteer, and everything starts with the seven person board. Marilyn Verplanke was the original President of the board, and a driving force to get it launched. The original idea for the organization came from Jim Woodward, who suffered a near death experience and emerged with a message to help those challenged by medical situations. During its formation as a Wyoming non-profit corporation, legal, accounting and organizational work was provided gratis by several local professionals. Today the organization is powered by people who care
Platte Valley Helping Hands is funded entirely by donations. Anyone who would like to contribute can mail a check to: Platte Valley Helping Hands, P.O. Box 1553, Saratoga WY 82331. Anyone who would like to learn more about the health based services they provide, or who is in need of assistance, can find information at area medical clinics, the Senior Center, Valley Pharmacy or the Saratoga Town Hall.