From Mr. Food VP, Howard
With Thanksgiving less than a week away, most of us are getting excited. As for me, I love that this is the big kick-off to the holidays. Many of us can’t wait for the 4-day weekend, the lazy days curled up on the couch watching football while chowing down on a big overstuffed turkey sandwich made from leftovers. I know my neighbors are already strategizing over which stores they’ll attack first in the wee hours on Black Friday.
I’m looking forward to all the hoopla that comes with the holiday, however the thing that I’m looking forward to the most next weekend is being able help those in need. You see, my wife Patty and I run the kitchen at a local church that feeds those who aren’t as fortunate as many of us. Last year, we helped serve over 1500 people on Thanksgiving Day. And what is so surprising is that we aren’t feeding just the homeless. The lines are made up of moms and dads and kids and seniors who simply just don’t have the money to put a Thanksgiving meal on the table. Let me tell you that in the last couple of years, with so many people out of work, the number of mouths to feed way outgrew the unemployment rate.
Having been in the food industry since I was “knee-high to a grasshopper,” I just love the feeling of helping out. Last year, we (when I say “we,” I mean a team of about 50 volunteers) carved over 100 turkeys, made hundreds of pounds of stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, veggies and enough gravy to fill several bathtubs. That’s not to mention the hundreds of pies, cakes and such that added a sweet ending to everyone’s meal.
Is it a lot of work? You bet. Does it mean that my family eats later on Thanksgiving than we would like? Yes, but let me tell you that when we do finally sit down to dinner, and before we eat, we go around the table and all share at least one thing that we are thankful for. At that point, all I have to do is look up at my family and friends…in my house with a feast of food on the table after spending all day helping those less fortunate, and a tear of joy comes to my eye as I realize just how fortunate I am. To me, this is what the holidays are all about.
If you haven’t experienced this feeling, let me tell you it’s amazing. Don’t know where to start? Maybe volunteer at a food bank or as a server at a local food kitchen, or gather up some canned items and bring them to a local food pantry. Here’s a link to help you locate some: http://feedingamerica.org/foodbank-results.aspx.
Maybe simply make a few of your Thanksgiving favorites and bring them over to a friend or neighbor who may be alone or having a hard time right now. (Here’s a link to our FREE Thanksgiving eCookbook that’s packed with lots of tasty and easy recipes just in case you need them.) I promise that you will not only make someone’s day special, you will enrich your life in a way you’ll never forget.
Have a great holiday!