Aside from serving a meal of green chile chicken noodles on Tuesday, Brad Ussery was cooking enough boneless turkey roasts for about 200 people.
On Wednesday, Ussery, director at the Community Kitchen, 114 East Bland St., and volunteers will slice those roasts, bake cookies and make other preparations for its Thanksgiving Grab-and-Go Meals that will be available from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday for anyone needing a prepared holiday meal.
In the past, the kitchen has served up its holiday meal the day before Thanksgiving, Ussery said, but changed plans with the pandemic.
“My wife and I didn’t have anywhere to go, really,” he said.
Thursday won’t be much different from what they have been doing since March, when public health orders forced the Community Kitchen to switch from dine-in to pick-up service.
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“We have a little handout window where we do our sack lunches on Saturday and Sunday. We just kind of modified that with some plexiglass, made the handout slot a little bit bigger for a full meal tray. We’ve been doing our meals like that since then,” Ussery said.
He said the kitchen has been serving between 120 and 150 per day since March and he expects about 200 for Thanksgiving.
“It’s pretty much like an everyday meal here, but a little more special with the turkey and stuffing,” he said.
The meals will also include more of the traditional Thanksgiving foods with gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole and green beans. Soda or water will be included.
Those in need can also pick up a bag with items such as an emergency blanket, face masks and other hygiene materials Ussery said his wife put together.
The Thanksgiving meals are being underwritten by Richland Auto Group, but other donors have also stepped up, Ussery said.
Cake for dessert came from Albertsons Market, 1110 S. Main St., which donated the cakes after the store was closed by the state Nov. 18 due to having four or more COVID-19 cases in 14 days. Ussery had just ordered more than 200 cupcakes from Sam’s Club, 4400 N. Main St., when it was also closed down the same day and was unable to complete his order.
A family friend also brought eight boxes of cookie dough her grandchildren were selling as a school fundraiser.
A few people have volunteered to help serve meals as well, Ussery said.
“We’ve got a couple of other folks, their kids couldn’t come in, so they’re going to help out,” he said.
City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or email@example.com.
To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.