Columbia program expects to feed 650 people

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COLUMBIA – An expected 650 people were fed a full Thanksgiving meal today thanks to the annual “Everybody Eats” program.

There were 59 turkeys and 11 hams prepared the day before Thanksgiving to feed the crowd, head chef Bill Sullivan said.

For two of the many volunteers, the day is about more than a meal.

“I think it’s very important to Columbia. It represents a period of time where people from any aspect of the community, different economic status, races, different religions they all come together to share a meal and share connections,” volunteer Janice Threat said.

“People see all the food and the generosity given out and they generally feel good about it. I think the same thing with the volunteers who are behind the line helping out, Sullivan said. “They generally feel good about doing what they’re doing with the other people in the community it’s not all black and white all the time.”

In addition to the 650 people expected to be fed on site, 150-200 meals will be delivered to people who aren’t able to make it out of their homes.

“I’ve really come to understand the depth of meaning of this program to this community and it’s very valuable to many people who have a long tradition of participating, volunteering, and just giving to others on this day,” Threat said.

For Sullivan, this is his fifteenth year preparing the turkeys.

“Seeing the smile on people’s faces when they get a full plate of food and go sit down and take their time and maybe come back again.”

Both told KOMU 8 News that the program relies on the community.

“You cant do the program without volunteers. This takes all volunteers and it takes the donations and contributions of the community to make this happen,” Sullivan said.

Almeta Crayton began the “Everybody Eats” program 15 years ago while she was cooking in a church basement. Sullivan introduced her to a larger kitchen at Stephen’s College and the event has took place there every year since.