USO makes changes to No Dough Dinners, locations
Story by: Calun Reece
1ST INF. DIV. POST
Some changes are being made to the USO No Dough dinners for the upcoming year.
The USO will be trying a "No Dough Dinner Light" for the first dinner in January and also the first dinner in February. Dates for regular No Dough dinners will be changing as well.
The dinners, one of the many ways USO Fort Riley seeks to lift the spirit of the troops and their Families, were started to give Families a night off from cooking and originally scheduled right before pay day, according to April Blackmon, director, USO Fort Riley.
The No Dough Dinner Light will still be serving full meals, but lighter in terms of the amount of the number of people being served, Blackmon said.
"It's an experiment we're going to try based off of our previous year's attendance records for the first dinners in January and February. We were seeing maybe 100 (attendees) at most," Blackmon said.
The meal will still have all the trimmings people have enjoyed in the past, including a main dish, fresh veggies and other sides, Blackmon said.
The light dinner will have a capacity for about 100 to 150 attendees, instead of the usual 300.
The No Dough Dinner Lights also will be hosted at a different location – the USO Fort Riley center.
"It's normally at our dining facility or off-site somewhere," Blackmon said. "We've never done it in the USO center before, so it'll be an interesting experiment for us to see how well it works," Blackmon said.
The first No Dough Dinner Light is scheduled for 5 to 6:30 p.m. Jan. 12 at the center.
Normally, the dinners are during weekdays, but this dinner will be during a Saturday to see how it works out, Blackmon said.
The USO also is changing the official scheduled dates for regular No Dough Dinners.
The regular dinners were initially scheduled the day before pay day to give Families a helping hand, Blackmon said.
"Well, we learned that many folks get paid the day before pay day, so, with that in mind, we've now decided to bump it to two business days before pay day," Blackmon said.
The last day before getting paid can be a little tough for people, she said.
"We target an audience of 300 on normal No Dough Dinners – that's troops and Families, and we will be doing some off-site locations this year they can look forward to," Blackmon said.
All USO dinners are volunteer-operated events.
"We have folks who volunteer for just one dinner, (and) we have folks who volunteer every dinner," Blackmon said. "It's a Family-friendly volunteer opportunity, so parents can have some of their older children helping out with the dinners," Blackmon said.
The USO dinners would not be possible without the help of volunteers, she said.
"As long as we have volunteers and donations, the dinners will go on, so we hope to never run out of volunteers," Blackmon said.
To volunteer, visit http://usovolunteer.org/custom/500/index.php or call 785-240-5328. Schedules, menus and other information can be found at the USO Fort Riley Facebook page at www.facebook.com/USOFtRiley.