Just beyond the double doors, a Thanksgiving meal with all the fixings waited for them. “We cooked over 4,268 lbs. of turkey, over 2 tons; we mashed over 200 lbs. of squash, 1,000 lbs. of potatoes, 100 gallons of gravy, 80 gallons of soup cooking. We started out this morning by preparing meals and shipping them in bulk down to Kate’s Kitchen in Holyoke.
For 22 years, Ron Belair has been the man in charge of putting the entire dinner together.
He and his volunteers have been cooking since Monday. Belair himself, has been up since 1:30 this morning making sure every bite is up to par.
On a day where so many look forward to chowing down on a meal he worked so hard to help prepare Belair won’t eat a morsel. “I generally don’t eat. I might have a cup of soup. I can afford to lose a few meals but we keep going,” he joked.
Both volunteers and recipients say that having Thanksgiving dinner here at Knights of Columbus showcases the true meaning of Thanksgiving. “It feels good because you’re helping out people who actually need it, you’re helping out people who don’t have homes or have money,” said 9-year-old Brooke Sambroski. “They had plenty of volunteers here today, it was a great sight to see and I was very thankful to see them help out families like me that need the help,” Stephen Labonte said.
“We just love it. You can’t get any more family oriented for those who don’t have. It’s a great place to be,” Volunteer Janet Beauer.
“I thought that it was really nice that everyone was helping and spreading sharing and caring to everybody else,” smiled 10-year-old Kimberlee Harrington.
Both Brooke and Kmberlee say they hope to keep the tradition of volunteering on Thanksgiving for many, many years to come.
Knights of Columbus saw over 200 volunteers help out with today’s dinner.
It cost about $16,000, made possible through donations.