- Saturday, November 1, 2008, 5 p.m.
- Veterans of Foreign Wars, 924 Lincoln Avenue, Steamboat Springs, CO
Free senior dinners are on again.
Despite recent conflicts surrounding the use of kitchen space where the monthly event is normally held, the next meal is scheduled to take place at 5 p.m. Saturday at VFW Post No. 4265, 419 E. Victory Way.
"We regret that all this confusion is going on, but we are committed" to ensuring both events happen, said Bill Harding, local VFW quartermaster.
Information that the dinners would be canceled for two months, including an article in last week's Saturday Morning Press, was released while VFW officials, still committed to keeping the event, were working to address the situation.
"While we were trying to work all the bugs out, then unfortunately some of this verbal and printed (material) got out saying we're canceling everything out," Harding said. "And yet everybody else is working behind the scenes to try to pull it off."
Another senior dinner is scheduled for the same time and place Dec.6.
The Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion is a possible future location for the senior dinners, providing the Moffat County Commission gives its approval. If that option does pan out, VFW members would help the VFW Ladies' Auxiliary members move their supplies, Harding said.
Transporting materials would be difficult for Ladies' Auxiliary group without help, Mary Walters, VFW Ladies' Auxiliary president, said previously.
Ladies' Auxiliary members put on the monthly event, which usually draws between 70 and 150 local senior citizens, using money raised at community bingo games and other fundraisers. The meals normally are prepared at Post No. 4265, which also houses the newly renamed VFW Steakhouse.
Last week, Walters announced the dinners would be canceled for the next two months after Penny Nelson, VFW Steakhouse manager and Auxiliary member, said the restaurant's kitchen couldn't accommodate restaurant staff and Auxiliary members at the same time.
However, the final decision on whether the senior dinners continue depends on a vote from VFW members, who act on recommendations from the committee overseeing the building's use.
And those members are committed to making sure the senior dinners stay put.
Members present at the Oct. 20 meeting voted to "do whatever it takes" to make sure the senior dinners continue, Harding said.
On Tuesday, Walters declined to speak on the record about why she previously said the senior dinners were canceled. However, she added that Ladies' Auxiliary members, too, want to see the monthly program continue.
"We want to do these dinners," she said.
Chris Morchak, VFW Steakhouse chef, agrees. VFW officials and Ladies' Auxiliary members will make sure the senior dinners take place on the first Saturday of every month "no matter what," he said Tuesday.
Nelson on Tuesday declined to comment for this story.
Continuing the monthly meals means a long-standing tradition will remain intact.
"(Senior dinners) been a fixture in the community for years," Harding said, adding that the event have been in place since before he came to VFW Post No. 4265 in 2000.
The monthly event has become popular at the VFW. Although dinner is usually served at 5 p.m., local senior citizens often begin trickling through the doors 45 minutes in advance to get a seat, Harding said.
"The seniors have locked into this," Harding said. "It's a social event for them."
Bridget Manley can be reached at 875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org