People who live in Surface Creek Valley know they have a lot to be thankful for.
To that list of blessings the community can add a local business that demonstrated last Thursday how it understands the meaning of Thanksgiving day in a small community.
The Cedaredge Creekside Café hosted a free Thanksgiving day turkey dinner with all the traditional trimmings and served hungry local people.
Owner Codi Nelson told the DCI that last Thanksgiving she was preparing to buy the business and helped with the free dinner that year. "I thought it was really great what it did for the community and for all the people who came in," she said. So she decided to host another free Thanksgiving dinner this year.
This year's dinner was more than a community event -- it was an event for close friends and family as well. Codi's family, staff and friends, and their families all contributed to helping with the considerable amount of work it takes to put on the banquet like that -- everything from preparing the food, to serving it and cleaning up afterward.
In addition to Codi's own work on the event, she was helped by her two children, Bailey and Tayton; by her brother and his wife, Jerry and Tammy Huggett; by Tammy's mother, Sharon Burks; by three siblings of the local McIntire family, Kacey, Reganne and Logan along with their mother, Angie; by Anthony Medrano; by Andrea Bray and her mother, Sheila Versey; and, by two friends, Gordon Kemmerer and Matti Lowrey.
Lowrey's contribution to the occasion was itself kind of special to the Creekside's Thanksgiving celebration of family, friends, great food and community; that is because Lowrey isn't related to anyone who was there helping out that day, she doesn't work at the business, and she doesn't even live in Delta County. She is from California, a friend of the family, and said that she came all the way from her home just to help out with the event this year.
Codi is quick to give thanks to some other special helpers who donated to the event. They are Red Mountain Ranches which donated real apple cider for the guests. Also, her food vendor, U.S. Foods, gave considerable in-kind contributions. A private couple in Cedaredge donated $100 and another couple in Delta gave $50. Both of those contributions were completely unsolicited.
Most of the people who attend various free Thanksgiving dinner events do make donations of their own for the meal. Those donations are often used by the sponsoring organization to help pay costs. But the Creekside's event was special in another way also. Instead of keeping the donated money to help her business or tip the helpers, Codi and her crew decided to donate all the money to the Surface Creek Animal Shelter.
"I think we just have a really great animal shelter in Cedaredge," Codi explained.
All of the food had been prepared by 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving day and the serving prep area was the center of activity as turkey was de-boned, sliced, separated into light meat and dark meat portions, and sides were readied for the first guests. The kitchen and food handling areas at this restaurant were in top shape. The restaurant's regular customers have come to expect a spotlessly clean operation in addition to the good tasting, fair-priced, and generous-portioned meals that Codi and her staff have made their signature style.
The kitchen is as clean as the neat and comfortable dining room, and the Cedaredge Creekside Café has earned "excellent" status in the county's restaurant inspection ratings.
Guests began to arrive a bit early for the 11 a.m. opening. A party of ten people were there right on time, and as tables and chairs were positioned to accommodate them, other guests began to arrive in singles and small groups.
As the day went on to the planned 2 p.m. closing, the Cedaredge Creekside Café and staff had served 150 free Thanksgiving meals.