The Laramie Soup Kitchen, Laramie Connections Center and Laramie Interfaith are working together this year to make sure Thanksgiving dinner is available to all in the community.
The Soup Kitchen is offering microwavable Thanksgiving dinners to-go complete with roasted turkey and all the trimmings prepared by the organization’s chef.
Laramie Interfaith again is putting together boxes of food for Thanksgiving with everything to make a memorable meal, complete with leftovers. The boxes each also include a voucher for a turkey from a local grocery store.
Organizing home delivery of the hundreds of meals is Laramie Connections Center.
Although the effort typically feeds about 400 people, there’s usually enough left over to go door-to-door in some places offering a taste of home for those far from theirs, said Ted Cramer, Soup Kitchen executive director.
“There’s still enough for some of those volunteers to go door-to-door at some motels,” he said. “The responses we got back (last year) from people in those motels were they were so glad to not be forgotten.”
Between the Soup Kitchen’s microwavable meals and the free community dinner offered at the Eppson Center for Seniors on Thanksgiving Day, there will be plenty of food to feed people through the long four-day weekend, Cramer said.
“Our meal is easily two meals. So, if they get delivery from the Eppson Center and from us, they’ll have food for that four-day break,” he said.
While the Eppson Center’s dinner is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, the Soup Kitchen and Laramie Interfaith will deliver their meals Tuesday evening and Wednesday next week, Cramer said.
And don’t let the to-go containers or bags of groceries fool you — the staff and volunteers who prepare the meals take pride in offering great-tasting food.
“We really focus on having the highest quality food. There are many days I’d put our food up against many restaurants in town,” Cramer said, adding that this year’s effort seems a little more strained than in the past.
“There’s a huge shortage on turkeys this year, so we end up buying smoked turkey, then we’ll put all the other fixings and homemade desserts,” he said.
Some of the drop-off in donations and volunteer help can be attributed to the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cramer said.
“We have noticed that last year, the local community was just wanting to support so much,” he said. “This year, with pandemic fatigue it hasn’t been as high on people’s minds this year, so our donations for the meals are significantly less this year.”