SULLIVAN, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — For the first time in 23 years, the Wally King Dinner will not take place.
Kristi Irwin, founder of the Wally King Angel Network, says this was the best option in hopes of helping keep volunteers and the community safe during COVID-19 pandemic.
“We saw the major surge in numbers last week and that’s kind of where the decision had to come from for the safety of the community,” Irwin said.
The Wally King dinner has been held at Joe’s Italian Foods in Sullivan, for the past 15 years. Not only are meals available at Joe’s but meals are delivered to surrounding counties such as Graysville, Shelburn, Dugger, and Carlisle.
“We deliver to so many people with immune systems that are compromised and we just need to be sure everyone is safe. Our volunteers as well as people receiving the meals.”
This event was started by Irwin’s late father Wally King, as it is an event that continues to grow each year.
“My dad had started this meal a few years prior to his unexpected death in 2002. When he passed away, we just kind of picked up and we ran with it,” Irwin said. “The meal was serving less than a 100 people when he did it and least year we served around 913 people.”
Though the Thanksgiving dinner was cancelled, the network still find ways to give back to their community.
Anyone who donated to the Wally King dinner was offered their donation back in the forms of checks or those checks could be kept by the network and put toward other projects and programs.
“Throughout the year we have provided gas cards for people going back and forth to larger hospitals. We also have helped put clothes on kids for back to school and school supplies,” states Irwin.
Irwin says they do plan on having the dinner next year.