Gerry Collie put his carving skills to work Wednesday.
The work was the approximately 240 pounds of turkey being prepared for the sixth annual Thanksgiving dinner put on by the Lawrence Interdenominational Nutrition Kitchen.
Pam Casagrande, who chairs the LINK board of directors, said LINK couldn't pull off the holiday dinner without Collie, who just smiled.
Collie has carved the turkeys each year LINK has offered a Thanksgiving dinner for Lawrence residents with no other alternative for the holiday meal.
"Gerry Collie is our famous carver," Casagrande said.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Casagrande and other volunteers were hustling and bustling in the basement of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church to prepare the dinner, which will be served from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the LINK site at the First Christian Church, 1000 Ky.
Local merchants provided funding for the 12 20-pound turkeys that were carved by Collie, a Dillons employee. The other traditional Thanksgiving dishes, such as mashed potatoes and stuffing, were donated by the local religious and service organizations that participate in the LINK program and were prepared in private kitchens. About 40 apple and pumpkin pies also were donated.
A HIGHLIGHT of this year's meal, Casagrande said, is that for the first time, the basement where the dinner will be is accessible to the handicapped thanks to a recently installed lift.
Casagrande said Wednesday that she couldn't estimate how many people would take advantage of the dinner, but she said there would be enough food for 250 people. About 100 people were expected to receive take-out dinners, she said.
LINK didn't hurt this year for volunteers, Casagrande said.
"I've had a lot of people volunteer," she said as Collie sliced turkey in the background.
LINK started in 1984 after a League of Women Voters study indicated that hunger was a problem in Lawrence. A small corp of individuals banded together and organized the food kitchen.
Today, LINK meals are served from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and the last Friday of each month at First Christian Church.
"WHEN LINK opened, it was the only kitchen," Casagrande said. "The Salvation Army picked up Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and the Secular Franciscans at St. John's does a Saturday sack lunch out of the garage here. So now there's a meal served every day in Lawrence, Kansas."
Casagrande said anyone is welcome to attend the Thanksgiving dinner in the basement of First Christian Church.