When economic times are tough, people step forward to help — at least in Lawrence.
There is no shortage of food donations and no shortage of volunteers willing to help with Thursday’s annual Thanksgiving meal at the Lawrence Interdenominational Nutrition Kitchen, organizers said.
“We’re very impressed. It’s like the community is being a big family for a lot of people,” said Herman Leon, vice president of the LINK Board of Directors.
Individuals, church and student groups and other organizations stepped forward to donate and help, Leon said.
LINK is prepared to serve 550 traditional Thanksgiving meals at no cost, including 275 for the homebound elderly and disabled who will have meals delivered to them. Maceli’s, 1031 N.H., is cooking 35 22-pound turkeys which were donated over the past year.
Some 150 volunteers will work two-hour shifts throughout the day doing everything from decorating tables, serving and delivering meals and cleaning up.
“I get turned on by all the calls we’ve had and the amount of interest,” Leon said.
LINK’s kitchen and dining room is located in the basement of the First Christian Church, 221 W. 10th St. It is known most of the year for serving meals to the city’s homeless, but not all of those who show up are homeless, especially on Thanksgiving.
“If you can come in and behave and act like a human being we’re happy to serve you,” Leon said. “We’re not just for the homeless. We try to treat every guest as you would a guest in your home.”
Thanksgiving meals will be served from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The dining room will open at 11:30 a.m. for people who want to come in an have a cup of coffee, Leon said.
LINK opened to the public on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 1985. Its first meal was served to six people in the basement of St. John’s Catholic Church. It moved to its present location in 1986.
LINK serves meals from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.