"It's gonna be a feast!"
So proclaimed Lisa Chandler, a volunteer cook at Brownwood's Salvation Army Service Center late Wednesday morning.
Forty to 50 volunteers were preparing to serve traditional Thanksgiving meals to community members in need of some TLC, and 150 to 200 were expected — but first, another task was at hand, and that was for the volunteers to feed the volunteers.
"Volunteers get to eat," Salvation Army Executive Director Donna Harris explained. "That way, they'll have all the energy they need to get through the lunch hour and serve."
Harris described the Thanksgiving east as "our give-back for Thanksgiving Day." The meal is actually served Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, so volunteers can spend Thanksgiving Day with their families, Harris said.
The Salvation Army Service Center will be closed Thanksgiving Day, so anyone in need of a meal should consider going to Howard Payne University's Mabee Center for the community meal there, Harris said.
The Thanksgiving feast at the Salvation Army Service Center included turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, rolls, three-bean casseroles, pies and cakes and "probably a few more things that Sunny could come up with," Harris said.
Harris was referring to Sunny White, the service center's new kitchen manager.
"I just want to say thank you to the people in the community for their support," Harris said. "We have a lot of volunteers who came in just to serve today."
School-age children were among the volunteers Wednesday morning, which is typical for a holiday meal, Harris said. "It's a very good time of the year for children to be involved," Harris said.
In the kitchen, Chandler hustled through a multi-task collage of cooking duties, but managed to converse with a visitor.
"Years ago, when I started, I never would have thought I could prepare for a hundred," Chandler said. "Now we're expecting 200."