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MUSCATINE, Iowa — Dozens attended the Knights of Columbus annual beef and noodle dinner on Sunday, November 13.

On the menu: homemade egg noodles, Black Angus beef, green beans and dessert—enough to feed a crowd. To prepare this year’s dinner, dozens of volunteers cracked nearly 600 eggs, prepared an estimated 70 pounds of beef, and baked a multitude of pies and pastries.

“It was my first noodle-making experience, so I didn’t realize how much work went into making the noodles,” said Emily Blair, one of the organizers of the benefit.

“Every single noodle is made by hand, from the cracking of the eggs to the mixing of dough, rolling it trimming it, drying it, all handmade,” she said.

Proceeds from the benefit fund Thanksgiving dinners for Muscatine’s neediest people.

The benefit grew out of a single act of kindness. A decade ago, Jim Weigand of the Knights of Columbus heard about a Muscatine man who died a week before Thanksgiving.

“He left a wife and a couple of children, so my wife and I went to Hy-Vee and we bought a turkey dinner [and] we had that dinner sent to their home anonymously,” he said.

A couple of days later, a business man in the area said he would give Weigand money to expand the operation for the following year. Each year, more people got involved by volunteering their time and donating money. In 2015, Weigand said, he and his fellows at the Knights of Columbus fed an estimated 750 people.

This year, Weigand, 79, is passing the baton to Eric and Emily Blair. Weigand said he will still be involved in planning and delivering the meals, but it would be more of a supporting role.

And the Knights have an ambitious goal for the upcoming holiday season.

“This year we’re hoping to get closer to a thousand, to feed a thousand people for Thanksgiving dinner in our community,” Eric said.

Dinners will be delivered to the Jesus Mission, Muscatine Center for Social Action, the women’s shelter and needy families the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

“It’s truly a community effort to say, we appreciate everybody that lives in Muscatine and if you are in need of a meal or in assistance in some way, there’s an organization that’s here to help you,” Emily said.

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