Sultan Harvest began in 2001 with a group of eager volunteers wanting to provide a free dinner to the community on Thanksgiving Day. The founding members were Gordon and Brett MacDonald, John Seehuus, Dan and Rose Francis, Bart Dalmasso (also known as Mr. Puffy Coat) and Donna Murphy. Gordon and volunteers cooked the turkeys under the eaves outside at city hall and served approximately 150 meals that first event giving away free coats, blankets and stuffed animals.
After several years they outgrew the city hall location and moved the event to the Volunteers of America’s big A-Frame and were there for about three years. Outgrowing the big A-Frame, the event was moved to the Sultan High School Commons in 2014 where it remains to this day.
Kristina Blair has been an integral part of Sultan Harvest since 2002 and feels blessed to work with the current board members:
Sultan Harvest came close to collapse around three years ago. Mayor Eslick talked to Camille Senechal, who didn’t want to see the program end. She called Kristina Blair and together,Camille and Kristina pulled it off with the help of an army of volunteers. This last year Camille couldn’t continue so Christi Smither stepped up as co-chair with Kristina Blair.
This year, Girls Scout Troop No. 41835 worked with their leader, Christi Smither, who is also the treasurer and cookie manager, having two very successful cold weather clothing drives. A local ladies group donated handmade scarfs and hats specifically for Sultan Harvest.
In 2016 Christina Sivewright joined the team, even though she had her hands full organizing the Veterans Day Event in Sultan, she jumped into Sultan Harvest feet first and was integral in the 2016 event.
Kathryne Paz, owner of Galaxy Chocolates, donates her time and baked almost all of the desserts over the past several years.
The community at large has always been a huge supporter of Sultan Harvest and they couldn’t do it without the generosity of the community.
In 2016 Sultan Harvest served over 600 meals, the largest increase compared to the number of meals served in prior years. They also gave away a record number of coats, socks, blankets, mittens, hats and scarves.
In the next five years, the group’s goal is to raise enough funds to form a 501(C)3 nonprofit so they can support Sultan Harvest and other community efforts like the school backpack and feeding programs.