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Volunteers arrive early to prepare meals for Community Thanksgiving Dinner

Jason Peters, kitchen coordinator for the 54th annual Topeka Community Thanksgiving Dinner,...
Jason Peters, kitchen coordinator for the 54th annual Topeka Community Thanksgiving Dinner, loads a container of turkey into a warmer early Thursday at the Stormont Vail Events Center Agriculture Hall, near S.W. 17th and Tyler.(Phil Anderson)
Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 7:39 AM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Well before the crack of dawn on Thursday, volunteers for the 54th annual Topeka Community Thanksgiving Dinner showed up at the Stormont Vail Event Center’s Agriculture Hall where they began to put the final touches on approximately 3,300 meals that will be distributed across the city starting later in the morning.

David Braun, president of the Topeka Community Thanksgiving Foundation, said about 200 volunteers were scheduled to drive the dinners to locations across the capital city.

Around 200 more volunteers had signed up to help with meal preparation and cleanup after the dinner is completed.

Braun and several other volunteers, including kitchen coordinator Jason Peters, showed up around 4:30 a.m. at the Agriculture Hall, S.W. 17th and Tyler, where the meals will be picked up and driven to homes and high-rises.

Kitchen volunteer Sammy Wall cooks up a breakfast treat at the Stormont Vail Events Center's...
Kitchen volunteer Sammy Wall cooks up a breakfast treat at the Stormont Vail Events Center's Agriculture Hall near S.W. 17th and Tyler for individuals helping to prepare meals for the 54th annual Topeka Community Thanksgiving Dinner.(Phil Anderson)

For the second year in a row, the dinner wasn’t held in the Ag Hall because of COVID-19 concerns.

Last year, the Community Thanksgiving Dinner Foundation distributed several thousand Hungry Man frozen turkey dinners at sites across town.

This year, Braun said, dinner organizers wanted to ensure everyone who wanted one received a hot meal.

After volunteers assembled the dinners in foam containers, drivers were scheduled to start delivering the meals in their own vehicles around 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

In addition to turkey, the meal was to include mashed potatoes and gravy; stuffing; green beans; candied yams; a roll; and pumpkin pie.

Check wibw.com later for more information on the dinner.

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