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Whitworth family tradition keeps holiday meals on the table

Whitworth tradition
Volunteers prepare meals for Thursday at the Senior Activity Center in Pocatello.

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - While many families spent Wednesday preparing their big meal for Thursday, one local family was carving up meals for nearly 700 people. It’s a family tradition that the Whitworth’s and Evans’ have no plan of stopping.

“It’s a little bit of a funny experience to have almost every single Christmas, every single Thanksgiving is spent here,” Marshall Evans said. “We don’t usually do the traditional family thanksgiving and … as some of the in-laws we’ve adopted into the family can attest, it’s a really, really fun and very rewarding way to spend your holiday.”

For Marshall and the other members of the Whitworth family, holidays have never really been just about their family. Now, a tradition of serving others, started by Evans’ grandfather, Lin Whitworth, is nearing its third decade.

“It’s a lot of nights like this, but this our first night where we start gathering people together, and then it’s constant cooking and mixing and baking,” Evans explained.

When it’s all said and done, the group estimates they’ll have served nearly 700 hundred meals -- half in house and half delivered. An effort of that size doesn’t happen overnight.

“Well, the time actually starts clear back in like August and September as we start getting our donations together,” he said.

Local companies like ButterBurr’s and Geraldine’s, as well as Perkins, are among the many Evans said are essential to making the day possible. But the most valuable effort is from the 50 to 100 volunteers who get their hands dirty.

“There’s a lot of Whitworths in the county, but, in actuality, we’re outnumbered by the amount of volunteers that we have,” Evans explained.

Cooking nearly 30 turkeys, homemaking gravy, stuffing and sweet potatoes, the family plans to have their delivery meals out the doors of the Senior Activity Center by 11 a.m. and have plates on tables right around noon.

“But if you want to show up even as late as two or so, we’ll serve until either there’s no more people, or there’s no more food,” Evans said.

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