RHINELANDER - People love spending Thanksgiving with loved ones, stuffing themselves silly and watching football. But for others it's a time to give back.
"Some people don't really have the opportunity to do this stuff so rather we give to them than just be selfish with our own time I guess," says Sarah Craig.
That's the premise behind today's event. Grace Four Square Church and North Country Vineyard have been distributing Thanksgiving meals for other people for five years now.
"We're taking them turkey, and stuffing, and beans and corn, and mashed potatoes to all the people who can't celebrate at home with their family," says Gavin Wallmow.
"Most of the time people don't have food that are working on Thanksgiving day," says Ryle Lewis.
They also take meals to everyone at Ministry St. Mary's Hospital, and households where people can't cook, or get out to be with family.
"People are just extremely grateful that someone cares about them on this particular day, Thanksgiving," says co-organizer Molly Ditzler.
"I think this is important so that we can be useful and so that we can share God's word to others, and to just be blessings in our own community," says Elise Ditzler.
The effort has grown over the years. They started by making 150 meals, and now make double that. Their volunteer numbers grow each year as well.
"We have roughly 50 volunteers today. It's a few more than last year; it's a real blessing to have them," says Molly Ditzler.
Everyone has their favorite part.
"It would not be the 101 potatoes that I shucked. It would probably be putting the turkeys in the roasters," says Wallmow.
"Everything. Just the thankfulness of the day," says Lewis.
"The best part to me is getting together and making meals with my friends and other people in my church. Making meals for others who cannot make their own meals today. That's my favorite part," says Elise Ditzler.
NORTHWOODS - People in Wisconsin love their beer, but alcohol is a big problem in the Northwoods. Experts want people to remember that alcohol is a drug and should never be abused.
Alcohol is a depressant and slows down the central nervous system. Experts feel drinking here in the Northwoods has become too normalized.
“When you talk to people even from the Northwoods community alcohol goes hand in hand with family gatherings , graduation, prom, hunting, snowmobiling, recreational activities,” says Katie Kennedy, Options Counseling Service Clinician. “It's kind of created this normalized look at alcohol that it's okay to do that in these environments or in these situations when it actually really increases risks.”
It's not just adults that have alcohol problems. Kids under 21 are finding unique ways to abuse the drug. Some have even resorted to snorting alcohol as a means to get drunk faster.
“What happens anytime you ingest a substance as far as snorting like right into your nose it goes into your mucus membrane,” says Kennedy. “So instead of drinking alcohol whereas it's processed through your system it's a process, the alcohol goes immediately into your body into your blood stream it affects you a lot quicker.”
In 2012 Wisconsin was the number one state for binge drinking. That's according to the Center for Disease Control. April is alcohol awareness month.
Cooking for people with multiple, chronic health conditions
MINOCQUA - For people struggling with chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease, cooking can be a challenge.
But being careful with how you cook doesn't mean your meal has to be bland.
One dietician teaches the "Cooking for Multiple Diseases" class at Nicolet College in Minocqua.
People taking her class need help finding the best recipes for their conditions.
"Maybe they have diabetes and their spouse has heart disease. Or other people in the family may have a different disease," said Mary Sikora-Petersen, a Registered dietician. "They want to know, how [to] cook a meal that's going to be for everybody in the family."
Petersen also stresses the importance of using healthier ingredients without losing flavor. One way to do that is by using seed-based seasonings and avoiding too much salt.
"[Add] flavors to food without adding salt. Certainly, salt adds flavor," said Petersen. "But there are other ways to add flavor, such as adding ground seasonings, adding fresh herbs to the foods."
Petersen also recommends using light olive oils and whole wheat products.
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