'It's very important to give back, it's the least we can do'

      EUGENE, Ore. - Volunteers spent Sunday prepping food for the Whiteaker's 25th annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner. The group used the Lane Community College's culinary facilities to prepare literally tons of potatoes, yams, and other vegetables, 100 loaves of bread and more than 50 gallons of gravy that will be enjoyed Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Whiteaker Community Head Start Center.

      Michael Rogers, the sous-chef at Cascade Manor, started out as a student in the culinary arts program at LCC. He's volunteered the last five years, and says his time spent on gravy duty is a valuable way to help out others.

      "I think it's very important to give back, it's the least we can do," said Rogers. "I feel very fortunate to be able to do what I do."

      The dozens of volunteers put a lot of work into preparing the dinner, however lead coordinator Beverly Farfan said they're also donating winter clothes for the needy.

      "Lots of things to help people stay warm... we're going to have blankets, sleeping bags, lots of clothes. They may be people less fortunate that don't have enough money to get a jacket," said Farfan. "They're in homes where they can't even afford the electricity or heat, so there's lots of cold people out there that need our help."

      Although the Whiteaker Community Dinner may be focusing on helping the homeless and less fortunate, Farfan said everyone is welcome to attend. Officials with the project said their organization is running short on clothing and toiletries to give out to the homeless. Those interested in helping their effort can drop off donations at the Windermere Real Estate Office Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., or at the Whiteaker Community Head Start Center on Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.