Local charities cook up a storm for Thanksgiving

Preparing a Thanksgiving feast is hard work for a group of any size. But many Portland-area service organizations are cooking for a thousand people or more.   

“We are cooking 1,200 pounds of raw turkey, 500 pounds of yams, 600 pounds of vegetables and 180 pumpkin pies,” said Tom Maier, Director of Food Service for Meals on Wheels People.

The main kitchen in Multnomah Village is humming with activity in preparation for Thanksgiving. In addition to the staff workers, there are 500 volunteers busy cooking, and another 450 volunteers will deliver turkey dinners to 2,100 clients. Meals on Wheels will also serve sit-down meals to another 900 at three different locations.

Organizers of the Thanksgiving meal at Union Gospel Mission on West Burnside Avenue in Portland say they’re in great shape for tomorrow’s group, estimated at 1,200 people.

“We want our guests to feel like we have given them our very best, so we are making many of the dishes from scratch and want it to be the best quality,” said Lori Quinney, Food Service Coordinator.

Union Gospel Mission was desperately short of pies earlier in the week, but no longer. With just 20 pies on hand on Monday, there are now some 400 pies in the pantry and freezer.

Quinney is gratified by the response, and happily said, “We don’t need any more pies!”

And it’s not just food being gathered for Thanksgiving. St. Andre Bissette Catholic Church in Portland staged the second annual “Pantaloon Rally” this morning, gathering underwear for distribution to the area’s homeless population.

“We serve at least 125 people every day and least three-quarters of them ask for underwear,” said Becky O’Neil McBrayer, Director of Community Programming.


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