Think it’s hard to cook a Thanksgiving dinner for eight people, even 10 or 12 people? Try to cook dinner for 1,500 people. Once again this year, retired judge Rich Melnick and Beaches Restaurant owner Mark Matthias have teamed up to bring together dozens of volunteers to help feed those in need.
As of Thursday, approximately 1,300 meals were distributed to group homes, organizations and other facilities. Melnick said another 200 to 300, if not more, would be served to people entering the old fire hall on Evergreen Boulevard in downtown Vancouver.
“If we’re only serving one person who needs a meal, we’ve accomplished what we wanted,” Melnick said.
While much of the cooking was done on Wednesday at the Beaches Restaurant or the Clark County Event Center at the fairgrounds, there was still a lot of work to be done on Thursday. By 9 a.m., around 30 to 40 volunteers were at the fairgrounds to begin assembling and packing the dinners for delivery. Meals included turkey and gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, sweet potatoes, bread and dessert and even a few vegetarian dinners were included.
Trained as an assembly line, the volunteers held their posts and prepared meals quickly and efficiently. Meanwhile, other volunteers paced back and forth between the heated cabinets and the food line to fill the empty trays. Over 100 meals could be served, packed and prepared for drivers in about 15 minutes.