A feast for Ames families

Melissa Berg

Members of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity gave Ames families one more reason to be thankful by serving a Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings Thursday night at the Boys and Girls Club of Ames.

Pi Kappa Alpha, 2112 Lincoln Way, began volunteering with this Thanksgiving tradition three years ago, offering to buy, cook and serve the turkeys themselves, said Chris Sullivan, Pi Kappa Alpha event organizer. This year, the fraternity members cooked nine turkeys and served about 200 people.

Fraternity President Ryan Pleak said the chapter chose to volunteer at the local Boys and Girls Club, 210 S. 5th St., because it benefits people in the community. Instead of raising money for a charity and sending it to people in another city, the fraternity members get to see firsthand how their time and money benefits the Ames community, said Pleak, senior in industrial technology.

Boys and Girls Club Program Director Marty Lester said Pi Kappa Alpha has been a great help with the annual Thanksgiving dinner.

“Before they started volunteering, I had a lot of extra work,” he said. “They help control the line, serve food, upkeep throughout the evening and all the tedious tasks that I don’t have to be tied up in.”

Now, Lester has time to walk around and talk to the parents and children and ask them for what they are thankful.

“Almost all of them said they were thankful for family, and we consider us all to be a family,” he said.

Ames resident Shirley Barnes brought her 8-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter to the dinner. Although the dinner is a time mostly for her children to enjoy, she said she enjoys the fellowship with people from the community.

“I also don’t have to cook dinner,” Barnes said.

Barnes’ son, Harrison, a third grader at Roosevelt Elementary, is a member of the summer program. Harrison said the club is “awesome and a fun place to entertain yourself.” His favorite part of the dinner was “definitely the turkey.”

Anastasia Payton, junior in elementary education, has three children who are members of the club.

“It is a great place for kids to come enjoy physical activities, camaraderie and an academic environment,” she said.

Besides the Thanksgiving dinner, Pi Kappa Alpha volunteers help chaperone dances for the club. For Christmas, a member dresses up as Santa Claus and bring toys provided by Pi Kappa Alpha alumni.

“It’s nice to give to others around the holiday season,” said Sullivan, sophomore in exercise and sport science.