51 years ago grocery store owner Bob Vogelbaugh asked an elderly woman about her plans for Thanksgiving. 91 year old Rose Hanson said "it was just another day to be alone." Bob noticed there was no turkey in her shopping cart and was saddened by her answer.
When Hanson told him that she couldn’t buy many groceries because she had a hot plate for a stove and a windowsill for a refrigerator, Vogelbaugh felt compelled to do something.
The next morning, he phoned her and several other elderly customers and invited them to join him for Thanksgiving dinner in the back room at his grocery store, Bob’s Market. Then he called his parents and told them he wouldn’t be coming to the family dinner that week.
“I set up a table and some folding chairs, put up some decorations and roasted a turkey with all the trimmings, and we had a lovely dinner with nine people,” the 80 year old said.
When he spotted Rose’s obituary in the paper just before Christmas, he knew that his Thanksgiving get-togethers had to continue. And now 51 years later, the dinner serves around 3000 people, no reservations required, no questions asked.
Vogelbaugh’s face appears every year on turkey fliers filled out by store customers who choose to donate between $1 and $10 to buy supplies for the dinner.
The reason for the season!