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Thanksgiving dinner served up at the Ottawa Mission and with food trucks

It’s a busy time for The Ottawa Mission, serving thousands of Thanksgiving meals throughout this week, and getting ready for the holiday dinner on Monday.

Chef Ric Watson says it’s “extremely busy” at the Ottawa Mission, as staff will serve Thanksgiving dinner through the week with the Food Truck Program and at the traditional Thanksgiving meal on Monday at the Mission.

“To prepare this many meals, it takes a lot of volunteers. We have our food service training program students all hard at work, the staff, and mostly the donors – we wouldn’t be able to do it without the donors, because it costs a lot of money,” Watson tells CTV News Ottawa.

Two food trucks will go to 35 low-income locations throughout Ottawa, serving 12,000 meals this week.

Fern Turgeon received a Thanksgiving turkey dinner from the truck on Thursday.

“If I didn’t have it here, I couldn’t have that expense.”

“Today, I’m very grateful to have this meal,” say Jesse, another client. “With COVID, grocery stores, the food has gone up so tremendously, you know. It’s almost you feed your kids and after you feed your family, what do you have for yourself?”

The Ottawa Mission has been busy throughout the week, preparing for Thanksgiving Monday.   The agency will serve 2,000 meals at the Mission on Monday, starting at 11 a.m.

The Mission will serve 6,000 lb of turkey, 3,000 lb of peeled potatoes, 2,000 lb of fresh carrots and 150 gallons of gravy this week.

For many, like Mary, the meal is about more than the food.

“It’s important, because it gives me a sense of belonging; a sense of socializing, and a sense of community, which is very important.”

The agency has seen an increase in need.

“Ever since the pandemic ended, to have this influx of people who we’ve housed, people who are still successful in their recovery, but they have nowhere else to be to get food,” Ottawa Mission CEO Peter Tilley says. “So, they’re coming here a couple of times a week, some are coming here daily to get a good meal, so they can feed themselves, because they can’t put groceries on their own table.”

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