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.”
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.”
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