Fort Wayne, Ind. (WANE) – Jack Schultz and his wife Ann are two of approximately 120 volunteers who spend about a week and a half working their fingers to the bone. “We are busy pulling the meat off of the turkey bones,” laughed Jack. The turkey prep time is called Turkeypalooza at the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission. It helps the Mission prepare to serve thousands on Thanksgiving Day. “It’s wonderful to be able to see people come in and get food to eat,” said Ann. “We have so much and they have so little. We enjoy helping others.”
Food Service Director Chris Richardson leads the crew that cooks the Thanksgiving feast. “It’s a lot,” said Richardson. “We’re talking about 3,000 pounds of turkey, 1500 pounds of potatoes, 850 pounds of green beans, and 200 pounds of stuffing. There’s also sugar cream pie, pumpkin pie, coffee, juice, rolls and anybody is welcome to come down. We served 3,400 meals last year, that was a record. This year I shot for 4,000 because I want a cushion.”
Volunteer Coordinator Deanna Bates helps provide that cushion. She makes sure the volunteers have all the meat and side dishes ready to go. “Every staff member is busy preparing or helping to prepare for Thanksgiving,” said Bates. “So the volunteers take up the slack and we need them. We can’t do it without them.”
“All of Fort Wayne is invited to this,” said Richardson. “This isn’t just for the homeless. This isn’t just for the poor. This is for Fort Wayne as a family to come together and share Thanksgiving. The Fort Wayne Rescue Mission will serve its free Thanksgiving dinner from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. People can dine in or pick up a carry-out dinner.
The mission is located in downtown Fort Wayne at 301 West Superior Street. For information about its services, volunteering or free meals call (260) 426-7357 or go the organization’s website.