Family Serving up Free Thanksgiving Dinner
-by WHNT news reporter Beth Jett
5:42 p.m. CST, November 22, 2011
Athens— A family, credited with reviving the Veterans Day Parade, is at it again, serving veterans and their community.
But this time, the Haggermakers are doing it by putting together a free feast.
And it's all homegrown.
... WHNT NEWS 19 caught up with them at a house in Athens, already beginning to cook. Four year old Hayden Clem and his 11 year old cousin Haley Haggermaker were working on dessert.
It's one of Haley's favorite recipes: Pistachio Salad.
"I make it every Thanksgiving dinner," said Haley.
She's extra excited about making it this year, because it'll be the final touch for a free feast Thursday afternoon at the Veterans of America Building in Athens.
It's an idea that popped into the minds of Roxanne Haggermaker and her friends moments after the Veterans Day Parade in Athens concluded.
"Within five minutes, we had it set up," said Roxanne. "I mean, we decided we were gonna do it, then we went for it and that's what happened."
What happened was Roxanne began hearing from all kinds of people who wanted to help.
She never had to approach any grocery stores.
The feast is coming from locals who wanted to share their thankfulness.
And three generations of Haggermakers will serve it up.
"My daddy's a good cook," said Roxanne. "He's a retired cook from the National Guard, so he's cooking the dressing, the sweet potatoes and corn and green beans and the gravy and all that and then my Momma's gonna cook."
They hope to feed 200 people and will even bring meals to those who can't get out so they, too, can share in this feast fit for a community.
"Six or eight turkeys, two whole hams, we have dressing, cranberry sauce, cakes, pies, hashbrown casserole, potato salad, stuffed eggs," said Roxanne.
And it will be followed up with Haley's Pistachio salad and Hayden's sweet potatoe pies and ten gallons of tea, donated by another family friend.
"I think the only thing we really need now is rolls," said Roxanne.
She says it's the first time she's put on something like this, and plans to make it an annual event, just to say 'thanks'.
Dinner will be served Thursday from 11a to 2p at the Vietnam Veterans of America Building located at 17915 West Elm Street in Athens.
The Haggermakers say if anyone would like to donate something to the dinner, or if they'd like to have a meal delivered to them, they can call 256-374-2073.
And here's Haley's recipe for Pistachio Salad:
Mix one box of Pistachio Pudding mix with a tub of Cool Whip...add a can of crushed pineapple and as many marshmallows as you want. Stir. Enjoy!
Thank you WHNT for covering this story of Roxanne Haggermaker and her giving heart! We are lucky here in Athens to have such a wonderful lady!
November 22, 2011