A ‘Friendly Feast’ in Kettle Falls

S-E Staff Reporter

For Kettle Falls couple Stephen Hawse and Vernita Wright, nothing was going to make this year’s Thanksgiving holiday special short of volunteering to serve a Thanksgiving meal to the community.

They searched Kettle Falls for this volunteer opportunity but could not find one.

Hawse said they might have found one in a different city, but the couple wanted to do something for their community, and as far as they could tell, no one was hosting a local dinner.
“So we decided to do it ourselves,” said Hawse.

With only three weeks to plan, Hawse and Wright put their heads together and gathered a group of friends to organize the Friendly Feast.

The dinner offered all of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes, like turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and stuffing.

Hawse, who loves to cook, spent most of Thanksgiving in the kitchen. He woke up at 3 a.m. to begin smoking seven turkeys and four hams, which he didn’t finish until 6 p.m.
Working the feast with Wright and Hawse were six other volunteers.

Much of the food was either donated, or purchased from donated funds.

Hawse’s employer, Boise Cascade, donated to the cause, as did many of his co-workers.

For dessert, Hawse said they purchased pies from the Colville fundraiser “Wheels for Emily.” Emily’s family ended up donating additional pies for the feast.

Hawse and Wright passed out fliers around Kettle Falls to advertise the event. Other than that, word of the feast was spread by word of mouth.

The feast was held in the Kettle Falls Senior Center, which donated the hall space.

Despite the short notice, the event was well attended. There was no official guest count, but Hawse figured at least 55 people came for a meal.

Anyone was invited to the Friendly Feast, from the homeless to individuals who had nowhere to go for the holiday.

“If people don’t have a place to go, now they do,” said Hawse.

The feast received a larger crowd in the morning than in the evening, which Hawse took note of for next time.

And there will be a next time.

Hawse and Wright plan to make this an annual event.

“I think it’s a neat thing to bring the community together,” Hawse said, adding that this is the time of year to do that.

Hawse plans to improve the promotion aspect next year. That way more people will hear about it and attend.

“I think it’s going to get better every year,” Hawse said. “That’s the goal.”