Dinners bring togetherness in Keweenaw

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly diners Karl Parks, Ruth Parks and Joann Lahti enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner at the site in Mohawk, one of nine Little Brothers sit-down dinners in the western Upper Peninsula.

MOHAWK — From Marquette to Mohawk, Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly hosted nine Thanksgiving dinners in the western Upper Peninsula on Thursday, giving seniors and volunteers a sense of community.

Seventy-six turkeys were cooked at Michigan Technological University Tuesday for the dinners.

Mohawk cook Jeff Levin helped with the turkeys earlier in the week and spent another two hours Saturday setting everything up. The kitchen crew arrived there at 9 a.m., five hours before the meal. Mohawk got four of the turkeys, along with 20-30 pounds of potatoes, another 20-30 pounds of yams and other fixings.

“It’s a really nice warm feeling to be able to help the local elderly population enjoy a meal, enjoy a communion of friendship,” he said.

Leftovers are distributed to as many of the guests as possible. Anything left over is brought back to the Little Brothers office for them to reuse, Jeff Levin said.

Mohawk’s site at Horizons Alternative School was the northernmost site. It is the second year Little Brothers has used the site after moving its Keweenaw County dinner from Copper City for more space.

“It’s a bigger kitchen, and the space is easier for the elders to get in and out of,” said Sandy Lewin, Little Brothers’ director of development.

About 25 people came to Sunday’s dinner. Things had been running smoothly so far, Sandy Lewin said.

“For this group in the Keweenaw, it is the opportunity for old friends to reconnect and have a wonderful meal, and they can just talk and catch up,” she said.

Bruce Lofland of Lake Linden has come to about six of the dinners. He enjoys “meeting people and good food.”

It was the first time for Peter Balwinski of Calumet, who got a ride from a friend.

“My first impression is very good,” he said.