October 15, 2013

Thanksgiving Blessings

Guest Blogger:  Chef Ric Watson

 As the Manager of Food Services and Head Chef at The Ottawa Mission for more than 10 years, I have experienced many Thanksgivings here.  It is always a special time, and yesterday was no exception.

I always do a “plate count” at the end of the day to see precisely how many meals were served, and yesterday’s tally was right up there at 2,885.  This means that we dished up 2300 lbs. of turkey, 400 lbs. of mashed potatoes, 50 gallons of gravy, and all the trimmings.

But for me it’s not about the big numbers – it’s about the impact of these special celebrations on the individuals we serve.

For people like Robert, these meals are a big deal.  He lives alone in a rooming house, and not only does he not have the money to buy the fixings for Thanksgiving, he doesn’t have a place to cook them.  He’s been coming for this meal, and many others, for as long as I can remember – and he always leaves with a smile on his face.  For him it’s like coming home to family.

We see young families who are living in poverty.  We see the men who are staying in our shelter and those from other shelters, and people who are living on the streets.  We see people with disabilities, and those who are mentally ill.

For each of them, this Thanksgiving meal is a sign that someone cares about them – that they are not forgotten – and their deep gratitude for this gift is so heartwarming to experience.

To our generous donors who send money, to those who donate turkeys and other food, and to the more than  125 volunteers who give their time to serve on this day alone – thank you for making Thanksgiving at The Mission such a blessing for everyone – including me.