Hope Ministries preps for annual Thanksgiving meal; serving 700 people

Hope Ministries will be serving more than 700 free meals for Thanksgiving Thursday. They’ve been working all day Wednesday to get them ready.

A staple of Hope’s annual Thanksgiving dinner is its Food Services Manager’s gobbling hat.

“it’s just become a big tradition now. If I show up without the hat, they send me home, go get it!” said Food Services Manager Calvin Chapman.

 While Calvin supplies the smiles, more than 130 volunteers are prepping the poultry.

“Well, for starters, we got together 40 something turkeys this morning to get ready to go in the smoker,” said Hope Ministries resident Michael Phillips.

“We are preparing to send out somewhere between 6 to 700 meals through REAL services meals on wheels program, and then we expect to serve probably around 250 on site,” said Chapman.

Ben’s Backyard Barbeque is running the roaster.

 “We’ve done it for I don’t know 10-15 years now, and I don’t know it’s what we like to do. Wouldn’t miss it for the world, and today’s my birthday, too, and I’m here on my birthday getting wet!” said Brody Lake of Ben’s Backyard BBQ.

Hope means just as much to most volunteers.

 “I feel great to be able to serve people in general. You know so much of my life has been taking taking taking, so for me to be able to turn around and give back to be of service to somebody else who really needs it, it’s a blessing,” said Phillips.

Michael was dealing and using drugs for years, so Hope has given him a lot to be thankful for.

 “I’m thanking God for my life today,” he said.

Others are just thankful to be able to give back.

 “I’m blessed that I’m available to help out and to give to these guys. It really makes me feel well,” said Lake.

 “I’m just thankful that I’m still healthy enough to do this,” said Calvin Chapman.

Otherwise, people would definitely miss Calvin’s signature turkey hat.

Volunteers will be arriving at 4 AM to start carving the turkeys they’ve been roasting all day.

Hope Ministries will be serving the Thanksgiving meal starting at noon Thursday. It is open to the public.

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