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American Rescue Workers cooking up a socially distanced dinner

With gathering in large numbers being discouraged, the American Rescue Workers is adapting its annual Thanksgiving meal into a “to go” event.

Typically, the agency hosts between 150 to 200 people for its turkey dinner.

“American Rescue Workers recognizes that there is a population in our community that does not have the resources, skills or need to make a Thanksgiving meal at home,” said Kendra Parke, marketing and community engagement coordinator.

“By offering to-go meals, we are continuing our annual goal of feeding stomachs and spirits during the holidays,” she added.

The meal will run from noon to 3 p.m. Thursday.

According to Parke, the chef at ARW is expected to cook 40 turkeys for the dinner. In addition to the main course, there will be the traditional sides — mashed potatoes, corn, stuffing. Two families in the community provide donations of baked goods for the event.

The meal will be distributed at the furniture donations dock at 643 Elmira St. Anyone in the community is invited to attend and may take as many meals as needed to feed their family.

“You can come even if you just don’t feel like cooking,” Parke said.

Because of the changes in how the dinner is held, Parke admitted that ARW is not sure how many people will show up for the meal.

“We’re not entirely sure. It could go either one way or the other,” she said. “Because it is convenient for people to just come to the dock and get a meal and go back home. But then also, some people don’t want to come out just yet. We’re prepared for more and if we don’t have as many, that’s okay too.”

A crew of about 16 people will volunteer their time Thanksgiving morning to prepare and pack the meals. Residents at the mission will also be served a meal in-house. The meals for the community will be transported from the kitchen area to the dock for distribution.

“Typically, our meal is a sit-down event where members of our community can get a warm meal and interact with one another, as many people in our community do not have family to spend the holiday with,” Parke said.

“Although COVID has prevented us from having a sit-down meal, we are happy to still be able to provide a warm meal to those in need,” she added.

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