Eugene Mission's Kitchen Preps Thanksgiving Feast For Poor And Homeless

Nov 21, 2017

As families and friends gather at home for Thanksgiving dinner, charities and shelters are feeding the less fortunate.  KLCC’s Brian Bull checks in on preparations at the Eugene Mission.

Volunteers and staff at Eugene Mission chop up vegetables and mash potatoes ahead of the big annual Thanksgiving meal.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

It’s the first Thanksgiving dinner being prepared at the Mission, since a fire last year destroyed the original kitchen.  Food Services Director Marshall Eck whisks a tall kettle of gravy.  He says the new kitchen is working out. 

Marshall Eck whisks a large kettle of turkey gravy.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

“The equipment’s brand new, it’s amazing, it’s state of the art.  It’s built for 2017, not 1983, so we can’t complain a bit.” 

The Mission expects up to 500 people for Thanksgiving breakfast, and 500 more for Thanksgiving dinner. Eck says demand remains steady.

“As I went over the numbers from the last five years, we’ve inched up about a hundred meals every year, especially in the families department," Eck tells KLCC. 

"We’ve created a more comfortable environment, higher-quality food, and more people are willing to come in.”  

A volunteer sorts out turkey during the Thanksgiving prep.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

Mission staff and volunteers work non-stop for about five days, leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday. 

Kitchen manager Trent Lee mercilessly mashes a vat of potatoes.  He says for many, this will be their only holiday dinner.

“That’s our dream," says Lee.  "Just to give them something that they can relate to, take them back to their childhood years or their early adult years, and give them a nice warm feeling inside.” 

In all, about 100 birds will be cooked, and a quarter ton of potatoes prepared.  

WEB EXTRA: A walk-through of the Eugene Mission's new kitchen, where its first Thanksgiving meal is being prepared by staff and volunteers.

Copyright 2017, KLCC.