Holte volunteer: ‘It’s a great and terrific cause’

Volunteers help prepare the annual Holte Thanksgiving Dinner at the Sacred Heart School.

Nearly three decades after the late Marley Holte and his wife started organizing free Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners at Sacred Heart’s gym, this year’s gatherings could be the last ones.
Board members still overseeing the Marley Holte Holiday Dinners announced they plan to end the organization’s tradition after this year’s meals. Still, they hope someone or some group in the community might step forward and take on the commitment in future years.
 “It’s a great and terrific cause,” said board member Jason Noble. “It’d sure be a shame for it to go away.”
Noble said a lot of local people have reached out since word spread about the tradition ending.
Noble and fellow volunteer board member Larry Brown talked in recent days about the group’s plans to wind down the tradition, following their announcement released last week. With board members aging, they felt it was the right time to stop their involvement so they could spend more time with family and friends over the holidays. After all, some of them have been doing it for more than 20 years.
There has been some promise for a transition to another group, but nothing has panned out as of yet, Noble and Brown said.
Brown pointed out that it would be more ideal if a successor organizer took part this year to learn the ropes.
“We won’t know until next year if someone is serious,” Brown said.
They and others continued serving the annual meals in the years following Holte’s death in 2006. Those gatherings have involved a slew of volunteers and donations, with the most prep work occurring the evenings before the holidays and on the holiday mornings, before serving a target of 300 people starting at 11 a.m.
Holte and his wife at the time started the tradition in the mid-1980s to give back to the less fortunate as opposed to buying each other gifts. Holte, a career educator and real estate agent, had a wish for the dinners to continue after his death, Brown said.
“He had asked me at a board meeting one time, ‘Will you guys keep this going when I pass on?’” Brown said. “We as a board did a lot for the community to keep it going.”
If you wish to contribute to the dinners or volunteer, call Larry Brown at (831) 637-9037.

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