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The Boys and Girls Club of Dane County hosted 837 hungry people at the fifth annual Give Thanks Community Dinner at the Allied Drive Boys and Girls Club location last night in their annual Thanksgiving event.

“In terms of attendance, it was the best event we’ve had to date. I’m really proud of the Focused Interruption Coalition. They organized much of the event including the entertainment,” says BGCDC CEO Michael Johnson. “It was truly a diverse group of people that came out for the event. It was true fellowship. It was an unforgettable night.”

Desserts are lined up for hungry attendees at the Boys and Girls Club on Allied Drive.
Desserts are lined up for hungry attendees at the Boys and Girls Club on Allied Drive.
The Boys and Girls Club of Dane County gave away 500 fleece coats and had a money machine where kids could win prizes along with live entertainment and raffles. Awards were presented to Sina Davis, JoAnne Brown, Jerry Hancock, Earsie Green and Steve Goldberg, who is retiring from CUNA Mutual after more than 48 years.

Afterwards, folks from the Focus Interrupted Coalition took extra meals to people in the Darbo/Worthington community. “They also went to State Street and gave food to the homeless there,” Johnson says. “I’m very thankful that Group Health Cooperative helped to cover the costs for the event along with WJJO Radio.”

This year, the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County didn’t have any local celebrities at the event like they normally do. “The last couple of years we’ve always brought celebrities. This year we decided not to do that and really just focus on the meal,” Johnson says. “We really wanted to focus on the overall experience. I was amazed and happy how many people showed up.”

Former 7’1” Badger basketball star Rashard Griffith was at the event and many Badger fans would argue that he is, indeed, a celebrity. Griffth helped lead Wisconsin to the 1994 NCAA tournament, the school’s first appearance in 47 years. According to Johnson, Griffith is about to become much more “local.”

Former UW basketball star Rashard Griffith in the kitchen with Jacquelyn Johnson (Michael Johnson's sister) and Jayne Mullin.
Former UW basketball star Rashard Griffith in the kitchen with Jacquelyn Johnson (Michael Johnson’s sister) and Jayne Mullin.

“Rashard is moving back to Madison and me and him will be working on some projects together that we will announce in a couple of weeks,” Johnson says. “He’s going to be working for the athletic department at UW.”

Next up for Johnson is the Boys & Girls Home Holiday Make Over that will take place Dec. 17. “We’re going to actually move somebody out of their house for a couple of days and employees at Fiskars are going to do their thing to make it over,” he says. “We’re going to rock somebody’s world. This is all about that spirit of giving back and helping a family who needs support during the season. ”

The application process is open and BGCDC asks that you tell your story in 500 words or less and how this makeover will benefit your family by Friday, Dec. 2. The winner will be announced on Dec. 7. The selection committee will include members of Focused Interruption Coalition and Boys & Girls Club staff.

Written by Madison365 staff

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