Acts of Kindness: Bringing a community together to share on Thanksgiving

Acts of Kindness: Bringing a community together to share on Thanksgiving (Jessica Waite)

EUGENE, Ore. - One woman is giving many people in the Eugene community a reason to say thank you this holiday season, and she's continuing a Thanksgiving tradition that started nearly 30 years ago.

Every Thanksgiving, community members come together to put on the "Whiteaker Community Dinner." It is a Thanksgiving dinner where everyone is invited, no matter their financial situation or background.

It takes all year long to plan for this event and organize all the details, and it's all done thanks to one woman.

Beverly Farfan has been an integral part of the Whiteaker Dinner since she moved to the Eugene area about 22 years ago.

"No matter where you're from, how much money you have, or your beliefs or anything, it doesn't matter. We're just going to come together and share," said Farfan.

As December approaches, another successful Thanksgiving dinner has come and gone, and again it is thanks to Beverly's year-long planning.

"Beverly stepped in to be the Head Coordinator of this event, and without her, it wouldn't happen," said Ron Pike, the original organizer of the Whiteaker Dinner.

Pike was one of the four individuals who started this event nearly 30 years ago.

"One of the first dinners, we had about fifty people," said Pike. "Fifty people - it's pretty easy to manage how much food you're going to be getting for that type of thing."

He says that over the years, the event has grown quite a lot.

"This event, where you have 1,500 people coming, you have 1,800 pounds of turkey, 500 pounds of potatoes, that's completely different."

The dinner has grown to include gifts, ranging from warm winter jackets, to gloves and toys. Many of the items are donated for the dinner.

"So many different groups, families, businesses that work on the different pictures to make this a great day for so many," said Farfan.

But a lot of it is also paid for by Beverly herself. Pike says that without Beverly, this dinner would not happen.

"She's so organized, she's so calm and capable of dealing with anything that happens," said Pike. "People immediately call Bev, because she's the person that can find the answer to whatever is perceived as a problem."

For Beverly, it's all worth it in the end.

"It just kind of chokes me up that the community comes together in ways that people can help each other, even on a big day," said Farfan.

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