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

Brian Bull

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.

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. 

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

“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.”  

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

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.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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