The Herald Bulletin

November 13, 2013

Cooking for a crowd

Organizations ramp up to offer Thanksgiving dinner

By Nancy R. Elliott The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON – Turkey is just the tip of the iceberg. When you’re helping to feed the community on Thanksgiving Day, there’s tons of ingredients to get together.

“Butter and milk are the two biggest and most important things,” said Cordell Ford, kitchen supervisor at The Christian Center in Anderson. He’s organizing and helping to prepare the meal that TCC will serve at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 1225 Main St., in Anderson, on Thanksgiving Day from 1 to 3 p.m.

TCC’s is one of several holiday meals being offered free of charge to folks in Anderson including the Gospel Highlight Broadcast’s community Thanksgiving meal at The Geater Center, and Thanksgiving day dinner at East Lynn Church. The John Lawson Memorial Thanksgiving Dinner at Cross Roads United Methodist Church is offered on Tues., Nov. 26.

At TTC, Ford’s got a list of ingredients he’s trying to get together right now in order to be able to serve everyone that shows up Thanksgiving Day. Turkey is not actually on that list because Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, as they have done in years past, has already stepped up to donate turkeys for the big day.

That still leaves all the other fixings for dishes like green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potato casserole and more. Ford’s grocery list is full of big numbers like 300 pounds of butter and 75 pounds of sugar.

Ford, 36, runs the TCC kitchen all week while he pursues his degree in social work. The Christian Center serves about 83,000 people each year at its community dining room, open seven days a week.

“We do a lot,” said Ford. “We stay busy, that’s for sure.”

Ford’s fully prepared for the challenge of cooking Thanksgiving dinner for a crowd. He knows the drill.

“We’ll start prepping four days ahead,” said Ford. On the big day, Ford said, “We’re going to have multiple shifts.” Volunteer crews will work three three-hour shifts starting at 6 a.m.

It takes a small village to do all that prep, service and clean-up. Ford said that about 50 volunteers will man the hall, greet diners, cook, clear tables and wash dishes. Other volunteers will be delivering meals to shut-ins that day.

The Christian Center has served Thanksgiving dinner for years at various locations. Eddie Robinson, TCC’s director of development, said that they’ve served up to as many as 415 people in years past.

“We’re excited about this year because we’re hoping to get up to that 300- 400 range,” said Robinson.

The Thanksgiving meal is available to anyone who shows up, and shut-ins may call ahead of time to arrange delivery.

“There’s a pretty good-sized population in downtown Anderson that’s underserved - they tend to be forgotten,” said Neal Kirby, director of TCC. He said that the Thanksgiving meal is an opportunity to reach out. “There’s no one forgotten. Everyone’s got a seat at the table.”

James Warner of Gospel Highlight Broadcast expressed the same sentiment, noting that everyone’s welcome and no reservations are needed.

“It’s a community dinner. No questions asked,” said Warner.

This will be the 31st year of GHB’s Thanksgiving dinner. Last year, close to 200 volunteers served 1,260 meals at the Geater Center event.

Gospel Highlight Broadcast also makes delivery available for sick, shut-ins or handicapped by calling ahead.

The organizations welcome food and monetary donations. TCC already has its volunteer crew set up, but other organizations may welcome volunteers as well.

Like Nancy Elliott on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @ NancyElliott_HB, or call 640-4805.

Want to help? Ingredients needed for The Christian Center's Thanksgiving dinner Donations can be dropped off at TCC, 625 Main St., Anderson, or call 649-4264. Butter - 300 lbs. Spiced apple rings - 3 #10 cans Milk any - 5 gallons Brown sugar - 25 2 lb. bags Whole and ground cloves - 2 large cans White sugar - 75 lbs. Salt - 5 containers French fried onions - 15 large cans Green beans - 4 #10 cases Cream of mushroom - 2 #10 cases Cream of chicken - 2 #10 cases Oatmeal (plain) - 6 round canisters Sweet potatoes - 5 #10 cans Eggs - 20 dozen Cream corn - 5 #10 cans Corn - 5 #10 cans Jiffy cornbread mix - 50 small boxes Sour cream - 10 tall tubs Celery - 10 bags Onions - 4 10 lb. bags Stock (veggie or poultry) - 1 case Potatoes (instant) - 30-plus large boxes Thanksgiving Day dinners ◆ The Christian Center's Thanksgiving Day dinner will be served at the Knights of Columbus hall, 1225 Main St., Anderson, on Thursday, Nov, 28, from 1 to 3 p.m. For delivery to the homebound, call ahead to arrange delivery, 649-4264. ◆ 31st annual Gospel Highlight Broadcast Thanksgiving Dinner takes place Thursday, Nov. 28, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Geater Center, 1611 Chase St., Anderson. Reservations are not needed except to arrange delivery for the homebound. Call 649-1503 or 610-5343 to arrange deliveries which start at 10:30 a.m.Thanksgiving day. Donations of food, money, volunteer time welcome. Call 643-6257, 648-6868, or 606-6099 to donate or volunteer. Donations can also be mailed to Gospel Highlight Broadcast, P.O. Box 3006, Anderson, IN 46018. Checks should be made out to "Thanksgiving Day Dinner." ◆ The John Lawson Memorial Thanksgiving dinner takes place Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2 to 6 Cross Roads United Methodist Church, 2000 N. Scatterfield, Anderson. Free bus rides are available. Call 642-8061 for more info. ◆ East Lynn Christian Church serves Thanksgiving dinner Thursday, Nov. 28, Noon to 2 p.m. at 522 E. 53rd St., Anderson. Carryout and delivery available (call ahead for delivery reservations). More info: Call 643-7415.