Thanksgiving was extra special for 27 members of the Kansas City Kansas Community College softball team and not because the Lady Blue Devils got to enjoy a rare home-cooked dinner.
Led by Coach Kacy Tillery, the Blue Devil team helped served a traditional Thanksgiving dinner to more than 100 residents and guests at Planters II, an assisted living apartment complex in Leavenworth. It was the fifth straight year the KCKCC softball team has assisted in the project.
Amy Carpenter, the Public Housing Manager of Planters II, spearheaded the effort with a huge effort from her mother, Janice Carpenter. "The dinner would not be possible without the help of my family and especially my mom, who prepared all the turkeys and made all of the dressing," said Amy Carpenter.
The menu consisted of five turkeys, four hams, 80 pounds of mashed potatoes, 80 pounds of sweet potatoes, 10 pans of dressing, 10 No. 10 cans of green beans, gravy,rolls, cranberry sauce and countless pies.
"Every year this is something our softball team looks forward to doing as a team," said Tillery. "It's a great way to help the community. In some cases, the dinner is the only Thanksgiving dinner many of the tenants will enjoy. If it wasn't for Amy, her mother and her family, many would not have any Thanksgiving at all."
Tillery said the project extends beyond helping prepare and served the food. "We love helping and talking with the tenants," said Tillery. "Several of them follow our team and keep up with what we have been doing. They ask about former players and also keep track of our players who have moved on."
In addition to the 27 Blue Devil players, former assistant coach Taci Beatty and former players Lacey Santiago and Laura Vanderheiden returned to help in the project. "Having former assistants and players come back to help us is really special," said Tillery. "The players do join in the meal and there's usually lots of leftovers for the residents to take back to their rooms for later."
For the fifth consecutive year, members of the KCKCC softball team not only helped prepare and serve food to Planters II residents but made the most of the opportunity to get to know some of the residents. (KCKCC Photo)