Pumpkin pie is sliced on mass while uncooked carved turkey breasts lay patiently on trays in the fridge for tomorrow’s oven.
The Friendship Inn kitchen is bustling as dozens of volunteers get ready to feed 1,500 hungry mouths this Thanksgiving.
Since Saturday, volunteers have sliced 60 turkeys, peeled 350 pounds of carrots and 500 pounds of potatoes and cooked enough stuffing to pack a small car. On Sunday, the group was huddled around a long table, slicing a bakery’s worth of pumpkin pie.
“When you have this much help, it’s easy to get everything done. The difficulty is keeping it organized,” kitchen manager Tyler Friesen said.
On a normal day the Friendship Inn feeds around 900 people, but extra man-power is called in to help on holidays like Thanksgiving, Friesen said. Around 50 people alone have signed up to serve food, seat guests and clean up on Monday when the doors open at 11:30 a.m. for the lunch.
Friesen estimates up to 400 man hours go into the lunch, on top of the mountain of donations they receive.
“We have been given far more potatoes, carrots and turkeys than we can use. We’ve been letting people know this and they’re just still bringing it to us and they’re like ‘Good, you can feed people later in the week,'” he said. “It’s just wonderful how generous the city is with us.”
Turkeys are pre-sliced to help cooks fit as much meat into the oven as possible, while carrots and potatoes are peeled ahead of their big boil. Left overs will be used for stews and soups later in the week so nothing goes to waste.
“It is very fulfilling just to feed people, and to see the volunteers who come and just have a great experience,” Friesen said. “There’s families that come in and bring their young children and (volunteers) are just running trays to kids that come here to eat and they’re proud of the fact that they’re able to do this.”