Paphanh’s 2023 Thai Meal Fundraiser

by Shelby Wood, CommunityCare of Lyme Manager of Volunteer Participation

It makes me so happy to do this, because everyone here looks like my family.

– Paphanh Sithavady, 43-year Lyme resident who came to the area as a refugee from Laos.

Paphanh is a force of nature … and one that we couldn’t be more grateful for. Over the decades she has been here, through her culinary skills, planning, tenacity, and unimaginably hard work. She and her family have helped raise over $200,000 to support Lyme and nearby communities and about the same amount to build and support a school in her home town in Laos.

On the beautiful evening of September 9th, Paphanh and a team of more than 50 volunteers served just over 200 people from 16 different communities across the Upper Valley. It was an enthusiastic and warm outpouring of teamwork and community involvement.

Saturday’s forecast was questionable all week. There was a lot of contingency planning about how to serve everyone – but never a question about whether the show would go on. Paphanh was determined. And Mother Nature got her act together! Bright and early, a team of volunteers arrived to peel, chop, roll, prep and cook over a dozen dishes (thanks to Paphanh’s own hours of preparation over the preceding days). Later in the day, more volunteers stepped into their roles setting up tents, tables, and chairs; directing traffic; welcoming guests; managing the buffet and bringing refills from the church; and cleaning it all up in record time.

Special thanks:

  • Paphanh Sithavady and Khanty Sengpanya. Without you none of this would have happened! You are so generous with your time, energy and culinary talents (and your patience with new “sous chefs”). Your ability to involve so many people is truly a gift! We thank you deeply for bringing us all together.
  • Kathy Waste. You were a great partner in planning and bringing this all together. You are thoughtful and organized and willing to do anything to help. Thank you!
  • Lyme Congregational ChurchThis event took advantage of the wonderful facility – with a perfect kitchen for the days work – as well as tables, chairs, flatware and other hospitality supplies. It takes a lot to keep that up and make it available. It’s a true gift to the community.
  • Those Guys. Thank you for the generous contribution and big team effort to provide the tents and lend your helpings hands in the general set up and clean up. This event’s fabulous tent crew consisted of Jim Mason, Bill Waste, James Graham, Jim Nourse, Mugs Johnson and crew coordinator, Hebe Quinton. You are always there for the community!
  • Northern Woodlands and the Conant Building. Thank you for allowing guests to park in your lots. You allow us to gather in community through your generosity.
  • Lyme Police and Fire departments. Thank you for your direction and for supporting the volunteers who ensured safe driving and parking. Safety cones and signs allowed for safe driving and short-stop parking for meal pick up.

To each and every volunteer: You made a huge difference!

Whether you were helping Paphanh in the kitchen, setting up tables, directing traffic, or putting up posters, your energy and support matter. Your generous spirit and positive energy fed 200 people and raised funds that will go right to work in our community, through CommunityCare of Lyme and the Lyme Congregational Church, and in Paphanh’s school in Ban Done, Laos.

Thai Dinner Fundraiser - Volunteer Thank you video by CommunityCare of Lyme

So many generous volunteers …

Jean Ball
Stephen Castellani
Jay Davis
Julie Davis
Stacie Deiner
Dan Freihofer
James Graham
Stephanie Graudons
Amy Hayden
Ava Hayden
Evelyn Hayden
Tom Hayden
Matthew Hayden
Karen Henry
Sue Hewitt
Cathie Hopper
Mugs Johnston
Erika Kiess
Joyce Killebrew
Paul Killebrew
John Kilmarx
Ted Letcher
Dayle Mason
Jim Mason
Kristen Munroe
Abbe Murphy
Scott Nichols
Jim Nourse
David Perlman
Daphne Petri
Pam Poire
Jeff Prileson
Jennifer Prileson
Hebe Quinton
Aaron Rich
Brian Rich
Jodie Rich
John Sanders
Karen Sanders
Fred Schaafsma
Khanty Sengpanya
Paphanh Sithavady
Sinprasath Sithavady
Billy Sunderwirth
Zakaria Taleb
Beth Taylor
Martha Tecca
Tom Turkington
Doug Vogt
Laurie Wadsworth
Bill Waste
Kathy Waste
Tim Williams
Shelby Wood
Sallie Yurkosky
And more who stepped in, especially during clean up

Plus, amazing food and fabulous company …

We hope to see you all next year!

With sincere gratitude,

Shelby Wood
Manager of Volunteer Participation

on behalf of Paphanh, Kathy, and the whole Thai Meal Planning Team