Salvation Army is prepared to feed over 600

Thursday, November 28, 2002

If you haven't already, you're about to spend countless nerve-wracking hours basting turkeys, skinning potatoes and baking pumpkin pies, all in the name of Thanksgiving. Not to mention you can look forward to a house full of guests like those know-it-all cousins from Caruthersville and the cheek-squeezing aunts from Advance.

You think you have it bad, but you don't.

Not compared to the Salvation Army, which is preparing to feed about 630 needy people today, a feast that requires more than 55 turkeys, 30 hams, 30 boxes of mashed potatoes, 1,200 rolls, 15 pounds of butter and more than 100 pies.

"It takes a lot of work," said Maj. Joyce Gauthier of the Salvation Army in Cape Girardeau. "But we couldn't do it if it wasn't for all of the volunteers. Believe me, it's incredible."

Meals will be served from noon until 2 p.m. today at the Salvation Army building at 701 Good Hope. The elderly and housebound individuals can still arrange to have food delivered by calling (573) 335-7000. In addition to the Cape Girardeau area, they will deliver to Jackson, Scott City, Commerce and McClure, Ill.

Various area residents donated the turkeys one or two at a time, Gauthier said. Southeast Missouri Hospital and Southeast Missouri State University cooked them. Volunteers came in and deboned them. Another woman made 15 pounds of stuffing.

A Cape Girardeau doctor donated the hams. Hutson's Fine Furniture held a promotion that helped get many of the other ingredients, including canned green beans and corn. A 4-H Club provided 40 pies and others are still coming in.

Workers at Port Cape Girardeau will be at the Salvation Army at about 7:30 a.m. this morning to prepare the food, and a Mormon youth group will set up the tables. More than 100 people will show up unannounced to help serve the meal.

It takes more volunteers to deliver meals to people who can't leave their homes, either because of ailing physical health or other reasons.

"I am amazed every year how the community supports this dinner," said Gauthier, who is participating in her eighth Thanksgiving in Cape Girardeau with her husband, Maj. Robert Gauthier.

Anyone still wanting to volunteer can just show up at the Salvation Army and they will be put to work, either cutting desserts, serving or cleaning up.

"There will be something for them to do, I'm sure," she said.

It's a lot of work, but it's worth it, Robert Gauthier said.

"There are folks in the community that need a place to go on Thanksgiving Day for a meal," he said. "And not only a meal, but friendship and fellowship around the table. We're glad to help provide that."

Joyce Gauthier said that all are welcome.

"We're inviting everyone to come out for the dinner," she said. "We look at this as a community meal rather than just a meal for the poor. Anyone who comes in will be served a meal."

335-6611, extension 137

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