Every year the Chehalis
Eagles host a special holiday dinner for displaced children and families. We sat
down with Diana Anderson, the event’s driving force, to discuss this remarkable
How did the Holiday Dinner
for Displaced Children and Families begin?
This event started with a
conversation between myself and Dr. Pope over cocktails at the Eagle’s in
Chehalis six years ago. He asked me if I would help him put together a
Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless kids. Mind you, this was the week before
Thanksgiving. I of course told him no; it couldn’t happen that quick. But what
about next year?
Then I went home and thought
about it, called him up and said that if we put our heads together, we could
put together something just before Christmas. After that, it was game on!
We got on the phones and
gathered donations and volunteers. I cooked (with the help of a few people) 10
turkeys and 10 hams, 10 bags of giblet stuffing, and 100 lbs of potatoes. We
made gravy from our stock, Apple Yams and Green Beans, all served along with an
orange and rolls donated by Franz. Our first year we had only a few days of
advertising. We served 98 people and donated the leftovers to the Mission.
What’s on the menu this
Turkey, ham, giblet dressing,
vegetables, potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, rolls and a variety of deserts. During
this event, we also have available for those that need it: blankets, hats,
gloves, gently used coats and shoes, sometime clothes, hygiene products, etc.
We also make sure every child gets a gift!
What is your favorite part
of the event?
Seeing the true appreciation
from those in need. I’ve had hugs from total strangers! Seeing a group of total
strangers drop everything and come help. Making new friends and sharing a good
time of giving.
I am so excited to help those
that are just down on their luck! I spend a little time with the family members;
kids first, adults second.
What have you learned
along the way?
It’s not the kids’ fault to
be where they are and it’s not always the parents’ fault either. It makes my
day to make these families happy, if only for the day.
The mental health side has a
couple of aspects. You have the kid that had controlled meds until they turned
18 and have no real guidance once they leave home. They are now on their
own. It’s sad, and I understand. They think they can control the world and
they just become part of the system, leading to arrests and suicides. Then
you have the side that has fallen through the gaps and are just trying to
Either way, they are a part
of our lives. Many ignore, disregard, or just plain try to ignore them. It
doesn’t help to do that. Give them a little attention, listen and help them if
the opportunity is there. That’s what I do. And it makes me happy!
Why do you invest in this
If I can connect with one of
these people and make them feel that they are important in this world, it makes
me feel good. It’s only happened once and only lasted for a very short
I am just a small business
owner here in Lewis County. I have no real educational background, other than
growing up and experiencing life, but I see every day as a perfect sunrise and
tomorrow will always be a better day!
The Chehalis Eagles Holiday
Dinner for Displaced Children and Families will be held on Saturday, November
23, 2019 at the Chehalis Eagles Club, located at 1993 S. Market Blvd. in
Chehalis. Dinner will be served from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Twin Transit Route
#12 will drop off and pick up from the Chehalis Eagles from 10:35 until 2:50, coinciding
with their FREE service weekend.