Nearly 200 attend Thanksgiving dinner by Hamilton man, businesses

Nearly 200 attend Thanksgiving dinner by Hamilton man, businesses

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Michael D. Pitman
Volunteer Mindy Bates fills a bag of food on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 5, 2017, at Strikes in Hamilton during the free dinner for those in the community that need a helping hand. Everyone that attended to receive a free meal and to bowl received food to take home. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF

Edd Bannon’s expectations were exceeded on Sunday as scores of people that needed some kind of helping hand had a Thanksgiving dinner at Strikes bowling alley on Ohio 128.

In fact, he said nearly 200 people were served on Sunday by dozens of volunteers.

“It’s just a very humbling day for all of us,” said Bannon, the Hamilton man behind the “Riding for Turkeys” motorcycle ride and Sunday’s dinner for Hamilton-area struggling families, as well as veterans, and the homeless.

Bannon’s efforts were supported by several businesses in Hamilton and dozens of volunteers from those businesses, notably Gina Isgro of Gina’s, Patrick Canaan of the Grub Pub, Crystal Hendrix of Legends, Nate Williams of Mutts Brewery Lounge, Mary Burdsall of The Drink, Mike Tincher of Speedy’s Drive Thru, and Scott Pohlman who recently purchased Strikes (formerly Columbia Lanes).

“We’re very blessed with the people that we have here,” said Bannon. “And this is just a good story, it’s a great thing for us to do for people here in our town, in our community because there are people who are very hungry here — right here where we live.”

Among the food served on Sunday afternoon were 100 pounds of turkey, 40 pounds of ham, and several pounds of mac and cheese and potatoes. Also, while 22 turkeys were raffled off for families to take home, Bannon said all of those attended received a turkey or a ham if they wanted one.

Sandy Campbell, a Gina’s employee who volunteered Sunday afternoon at the dinner, said she was awestruck by the outpouring of donations and volunteering of more than 75 people to help the hundreds that attended.

“I got the chills,” she said as she looked over items donated by the patrons of six Hamilton-area businesses. “It just warms my heart.”

Martha Murnahan, of Hamilton, attended Sunday’s dinner. She knows what it is like to struggle, and was briefly homeless.

“I’m here to help out. It has been us before,” Murnahan said. “We’ve had hard times and there was no one to turn to.”

Bannon said every person that he and others helped on Sunday are “people with families, hard-working people, that just fall a little bit short.”

“We take a lot of things for granted. Lots of us have enough and are blessed to have enough, but we don’t know what it’s like not to be able to bowl or to not to see your kids eat like the way we want them to,” Bannon said. “That’s today, that’s what this is all about. Come out, be a part of this.”

Next year’s event is planned to be bigger, he said. Bannon said additional businesses have contacted him about wanting to be a part of the dinner.

Any money or food remaining from Sunday’s dinner will be donated to organizations that help people every day.

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