(St.Joseph,MO) Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks and giving back, and for volunteers at the Open Door Food Kitchen, it’s a chance to provide warm meals to people without a place to go for the holiday.
"It's going to be the same. It's going to be the same partons. We are all a family, so we are just going to come together as a family on Thanksgiving day and break bread,"Open Door Food Kitchen Executive Director Kelly Conant said.
With school being out for the Thanksgiving holiday, Conant said more families and children will visit the food kitchen.
"I plan on there being a few extra faces, and assumed that there will be. During the summer we had an influx of children, so usually during the holidays we will too,"Conant said.
The food kitchen spent several days preparing to serve over 200 people a traditional Thanksgiving meal including turkey, cheesy potatoes, hot rolls and pumpkin pie.
"My Kitchen Facilities Manager Lisa Mosier started cooking turkeys on Tuesday and Wednesday," Conant said.
Hilary Christiansen has spent her last four Thanksgivings volunteering at the Open Door Food Kitchen with the St. John’s Lutheran Church. Each year the Christiansen family travels over an hour from Westboro, Missouri, to help prepare the noon meal.
"I have a 14 year old daughter and I think it's really important to understand what Thanksgiving is about,” Christiansen said. “I think it's important for her to see and understand what we need to be grateful for."
Christiansen said the best part of volunteering at the kitchen is interacting with the patrons.
"Letting them know they're appreciated just for being around and coming in and letting us have the opportunity to serve them. I get so much more from them, than probably what they get from me," Christiansen said.
Conant said the food kitchen typically sees more volunteers on major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but is still looking for volunteers to help fill in at the kitchen for the rest of the year.
"We are open seven days a week, 365 days a year, because hunger does not take a day off,"Conant said.
The Open Door Food Kitchen still needs donations to break ground at their new facility on 8th Street. For more information about volunteering at the Open Door Food Kitchen, or to make a donation, contact Kelly Conant at 816-364-1085.