MOUNT VERNON — The 16th annual Southside Diner Thanksgiving Dinner was held on Sunday, Nov. 24, and raised over $8,500 for Hospice of Knox County. Danielle Sutton, volunteer coordinator at Hospice of Knox County, said that there were 865 dinners served.
“Roger (McCoy) and all of the staff at Southside Diner, they donated all of their time as well they donated all of the food for the meal that evening,” said Sutton. “It truly is gracious of them to provide that type of support not only to the community, but also to supporting Hospice of Knox County,” said Sutton.
Sutton added that a lot of people were able to make donations, and those who were unable to make donations received their meal for free.
Over the past 16 years, Roger McCoy and the staff of R&M Southside Diner have been giving through the Thanksgiving dinner fundraiser to support Hospice of Knox County. McCoy said the idea for the fundraiser dinner came about as “something that would bring awareness about Hospice” while he was “working closely” on the board of Hospice of Knox County. McCoy stressed that Ann Hudson, who was also on the board of Hospice of Knox County at the time, was “instrumental” in the fundraiser dinner process as well as “in starting the (Hospice of Knox County) organization some 30 years ago.”
Hudson, who has been a director of clinical services as well as a board member for Hospice of Knox County, spoke of McCoy as being “supportive of Hospice of Knox County” ever since he worked in the health care field.
“Roger was a student nurse and he was one of our volunteers even when he was in nurses’ training. His initial taste of Hospice was in the early days of Hospice when he was in school,” said Hudson.
“He’s had a passion for it ever since then, and that’s been supported especially with the dinners and keeping the awareness in the community,” said Hudson.
“He was there in the early days when we were new and struggling,” said Hudson.
To prepare for the big event, McCoy said that in-house employees worked “extra hours” to prepare the fresh foods and baked goods for the grand dinner. Southside Diner advertised the dinner and spread the word around the community. McCoy said that Southside Diner “solicits donations from our suppliers” for the food and other goods needed, as “they’re very open to help us with the fundraiser,” said McCoy.
“Ultimately, the goal is that it costs Hospice of Knox County zero dollars,” said McCoy. “They get 100 percent of every penny raised during the fundraiser.”
As for the end result, Sutton said that the folks at Southside Diner “deserve a huge thank you because they graciously give of their hearts and time to support our community and have done so for years.”
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