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Squash-keeper keeps Thanksgiving dinner rolling

Staff photo by Fritz Busch Lynn Rowley of Searles holds a large butternut squash plant in her garage. The squash stored in her garage will be used to make squash for the 35th annual New Ulm Community Friends Thanksgiving Dinner. Traditional food made from scratch will be served buffet-style to the public from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 23 at St. Mary’s Church, 417 Minnesota Street South. The event is free. No reservations. Donations are accepted to help the event continue.

NEW ULM — Next Monday, more than 100 squash plants will be prepared in the St. Mary’s church basement.

Dozens of squash plants have stayed cool in Lynn Rowley’s garage in Searles this fall. Most of the squash was grown in a donated garden.

“One man donated three boxes of squash,” Rowley said. “We try to grow our own squash and onions. Everything else is donated.”

“We invite the community to come in, sit down and join us for dinner. We also love our volunteers just as much as people that come to dinner,” Rowley said. “We depend on donations to support next year’s meal.”

Squash is a popular food choice, according to people who have attended the New Ulm Community Friends Thanksgiving Dinner.

Thanks to the benevolence of dozens of volunteers putting in hundreds of hours of work including Rowley of Searles, the 35th annual dinner includes a large amount of butternut squash and lots of other traditional food made from scratch.

Rowley and her family volunteer for the dinner. Lynn Rowley is on the Thanksgiving Dinner board and works in the kitchen with her mother, Gloria Blume of Courtland during the dinner. Lynn’s brother and sister-in-law, Charles and Dana Effenberger of New Ulm help deliver Thanksgiving meals.

Food will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday Nov. 23 at St. Mary’s Church, 417 Minnesota Street South. If you want a delivered meal, it must be within the city limits. No more than three per household. Call 354-3045 before 8 p.m. Tuesday. Nov. 21.

Much of the squash is grown by Brown County STS (Sentence to Service) crews. The STS crews work on community projects including manual labor, repairs and clean-up.

“I like eating squash with a bit of brown sugar, salt, pepper and butter,” Rowley said.

Rowley does medical coding work from home for Mayo Health Mankato and has a housekeeping business.

Thanksgiving dinner co-chairman Les Schultz said ice cream is served every five years and with 2023 being the 35th anniversary event, ice cream is available this year.

St. Paul’s Lutheran School students colored placemats for the dinner.

Other volunteer duties include peeling potatoes, cutting onions, other food preparation, washing dishes and cleaning up.

A number of volunteers are needed Tuesday through Thursday, Nov. 21-23. One more food preparation volunteer is needed 4-6 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 21. Two more food preparers and dishwashers are needed 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2-6 p.m. and 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22. Six more food preparers and cleanup volunteers are needed from 6-9 a.m., 10:30-1:30 p.m. and 12:30-3:30 p.m. Nov. 23.

Visit Community Friends Thanksgiving Dinner on Facebook and https://www.signupgenius.com/…./70A0A44AAA728A4FA7.

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