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Thanksgiving feast served to those in need at local restaurant

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    Guests crowd in during a Thanksgiving meal provided at the Real Seafood Co. restaurant in partnership with Cherry Street Mission in Toledo on Thursday, November 23, 2017.

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    Olivia Spencer, back, and Bella Spencer, 7, both of Sylvania, Ohio, serve guests during a Thanksgiving meal provided at the Real Seafood Co. restaurant in partnership with Cherry Street Mission in Toledo on Thursday, November 23, 2017.

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    Donald Wilson, left, and Barry Ellison, both of Toledo, enjoy the food during a Thanksgiving meal provided at the Real Seafood Co. restaurant in partnership with Cherry Street Mission in Toledo on Thursday, November 23, 2017.

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    Tina Bryant, left, and Jeff Carder, center, both of Toledo are served by Miranda Dick, a Zia's worker who's volunteering, during a Thanksgiving meal provided at the Real Seafood Co. restaurant in partnership with Cherry Street Mission in Toledo on Thursday, November 23, 2017.

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    The turkey plate during a Thanksgiving meal provided at the Real Seafood Co. restaurant in partnership with Cherry Street Mission in Toledo on Thursday, November 23, 2017.

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    Tracey Norrington, back left, Ashton Hyatt, 2, Mike Morgan, front left, and Michael Hyatt enjoy the food during a Thanksgiving meal provided at the Real Seafood Co. restaurant in partnership with Cherry Street Mission in Toledo on Thursday, November 23, 2017.

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    From left, Elizabeth Losek, James Jenkins, 5, Mary Poindexter (behind Tommy), and Tommy Poindexter, all of Toledo, enjoy the food during a Thanksgiving meal provided at the Real Seafood Co. restaurant in partnership with Cherry Street Mission in Toledo on Thursday, November 23, 2017.

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    From left, Michael Foxhuber, 11, Jeff Hall, and Corinna Hall, all of Toledo, enjoy the food during a Thanksgiving meal provided at the Real Seafood Co. restaurant in partnership with Cherry Street Mission in Toledo on Thursday, November 23, 2017.

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    The sign outside the restaurant during a Thanksgiving meal provided at the Real Seafood Co. restaurant in partnership with Cherry Street Mission in Toledo on Thursday, November 23, 2017.

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    A volunteer pours gravy on the turkey during a Thanksgiving meal provided at the Real Seafood Co. restaurant in partnership with Cherry Street Mission in Toledo on Thursday, November 23, 2017. The restaurant, owned by Main Street Ventures, closes to the public and offers a Thanksgiving meal with multiple courses including salad, turkey and pie to the homeless and those in need.

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  • CTY-realseafood23p-11

    Sara Higgins, of Toledo, and with Main Street Ventures, readies salads during a Thanksgiving meal provided at the Real Seafood Co. restaurant in partnership with Cherry Street Mission in Toledo on Thursday, November 23, 2017.

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  • CTY-realseafood23p-12

    Kristie Haley, of Sylvania, Ohio, a volunteer, puts cranberry sauce on a plate during a Thanksgiving meal provided at the Real Seafood Co. restaurant in partnership with Cherry Street Mission in Toledo on Thursday, November 23, 2017.

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Every table was seated and every plate was full when a local restaurant opened its doors to those less fortunate. 

Thanksgiving meals were served Thursday to those in need at the Real Seafood Co. through a partnership with the Cherry Street Mission Ministries. 

“Thanksgiving, of course, is the most important meal of the year,” said Max Lambdin, Senior Vice President of Mission Advancement at Cherry Street Mission Ministries. “It’s the only holiday that is around the meal, entirely. So we feel that we should honor that by having people have the opportunity to eat together in a way that the rest of us would be able to enjoy it.”

VIDEO: Thanksgiving at Real Seafood Co.

It’s Cherry Street Mission Ministries’ eighth year partnering with Real Seafood Co. The restaurant was shut down specifically to serve the Thanksgiving feast — featuring the traditional trimmings. 

A preparation team worked Wednesday, preparing pies, while another team arrived early Thursday to begin cooking more than 120 turkeys. About 1,000 meals were served in-house, while another thousand meals were boxed to go, said Julie White, director of marketing at Mainstreet Ventures. 

Serving the Thanksgiving meal at the Real Seafood Co. gives people a “sense of normalcy,” Ms. White said. 

“They can come in and sit down and have an experience, a fine dining experience,” she said. “It truly is an opportunity for us to give back to them and create a sense of normalcy in their lives.”

More than 100 volunteers helped at the restaurant, lining up in the kitchen, rolling silverware, and seating guests. Some volunteers, as far away from Arizona, were recruited by local family who come back year after year, Ms. White said.  

Sister Pat McClain, along with four other friends, decided to volunteer. Sister McClain said it was her first time volunteering at the Real Seafood Co.

She served as a hostess, leading guests to their seats and making sure they had everything they needed. 

“Everyone is just so calm,” Sister McClain said. “There’s just a gratefulness. For the moment, they’re warm, it’s comfortable. People are happy. It’s just a pleasant atmosphere.” 

Contact Allison Reamer at areamer@theblade.com, 419-724-6506 or on Twitter @AllisonRBlade.

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