Giving Thanks With the Boys and Girls Club of Portage County
By Taylor J. Hale
STEVENS POINT — Boys and Girls Club staff and community youth gave thanks at the annual free Thanksgiving
feast, held at the Berard Center on Nov. 13. This event has been taking place since 2002 and has become a staple of the area ever since.
Kevin Quevillon, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Portage County, is elated to give back to the town that has given the Boys and Girls Club so much.
“This has been a tradition since the beginning. The idea is we want kids to come in and celebrate with us, and be thankful for the community support that we are able to have.” said Quevillon.
There are nine Boys and Girls Club locations in Portage County, and six of the sites had Thanksgiving events. There are an estimated 600 people that attended the dinners, and the number of attendees seems to be growing each year. When the program first started, the numbers were small, but Quevillon was still grateful.
“The first year I think we had 50 people show up, and we thought that was wonderful. Now we have over 300 people just at the Berard Center location tonight,” Quevillon said.
The program has grown exponentially along with the community. The food is still all hand cooked by the Boys and Girls Club staff, but donations are beginning to come in from the public, too. Partisans of the feast have even donated frozen turkeys for a free raffle event.
“We do have donors that call and say they want to make a contribution to the feast. We are starting to get that more. We are very thankful for what the public has given us,” Quevillon said. “We are appreciative to the community to be able to help serve these kids.”
Along with the tantalizing turkey and cascading gravy, were performances and programs put on by the kids of the Boys and Girls Club. Children told stories, read poems, and told the crowd why they were thankful. It was a heartwarming event that helped remind the community why centers like the Boys and Girls Club are vital. They provide the local youth with a safe environment, where personal-growth and building healthy relationships are focal points.
“The Thanksgiving feast allows the community and parents to come into our building and check it out and see what we do here. It gives them a great opportunity to get close with the programs we offer,” Quevillon said.
The feast is not the only attraction on the calendar for the Boys and Girls Club. Quevillon has big plans for the winter season, and he hopes the public will come and join.
“We are getting into our event period here. Our Christmas party we do with Sentry Insurance and the YMCA is coming up. And our Passport to Paradise dance will be here soon,” Quevillon explained.
The Christmas celebration will take place on Dec. 9, 2018, and the Passport to Paradise dance, also sponsored by Sentry Insurance, will be held on Jan. 18, 2019. For more info about programs at the Boys and Girls Club call 715-341-4386. Visit their website at www.bgclubpc.org.