Roanoke Rescue Mission prepares for Thanksgiving dinner

ROANOKE, Va. - Workers and volunteers at the Roanoke Rescue Mission were in the kitchen all day on Wednesday, getting ready to serve hundreds of people a Thanksgiving meal.

"So many people don't understand what it feels like to help someone else or just to give a little bit of your time," said Brittany Nemo, one of the volunteers.

Nemo helped out for several hours, peeling countless carrots and cooking about 20 pounds of sweet potato casserole.

"I'm always the one who likes to make the sweet stuff," she said. "If it's sweet, I'll make it."  

"We have about a thousand rolls to get heated up in the morning, so it's a big job," said Pamela Ferguson, food service manager for the Roanoke Rescue Mission. "It takes a lot of different hands."

The Rescue Mission is expecting at least 600 people for Thanksgiving dinner, Ferguson said. The Bonsack United Methodist Church helps provide food for the feast, which includes about 475 pounds of turkey, she added. 

Getting all of that food ready requires the hard work of Rescue Mission staff and many volunteers. About 20 extra volunteers were helping out Wednesday afternoon alone, Ferguson said. 

"They have done all kinds of things today from washing carts to sorting silverware to prepping potatoes, prepping food," she explained. "We need 100 pounds of potatoes to have enough mashed potatoes to get through this meal."

The Rescue Mission has also collected hundreds of pies, which were donated by members of the community, Ferguson added. 

"It's just nice that we can give back to the people here and their families and to our community," she said. 

"The amount of impact you can make just giving your time - it's amazing," Nemo said. 

People at the Rescue Mission will finish preparing Thanksgiving dinner when they're back in the kitchen at 4:30 Thanksgiving morning, Ferguson said. 

The dinner is open to both people who live at the Rescue Mission and anyone in the community who wants a meal, Ferguson said. Doors open to the public at 1 p.m.


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