The Mission’s dining hall staff arrive at 4 am and clients begin their vocational assignments at the same time, getting all the food ready for the packing extravaganza called Gobbles to Go. At 8:30, a large number of volunteers, many of whom have made it a family tradition for several years, begin to prepare take-out plates, slice pumpkin pie, add utensils and condiments, and make deliveries. In partnership with Meals on Wheels, we prepare and deliver meals for 800 people throughout the community, at Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s a well-orchestrated event, complete with prayer, laughter, music, and singing by all.
According to David Breen, Director of Employment and Community Relations at the Mission, Concord Hospitality came through in a big way again this year, providing food and packaging materials, and cooking and slicing turkeys for all of our aftercare clients and over 200 families in need. In addition, Turkeys for the Triangle, The Carolina Hurricanes, Fred Smith, The Elks Club, and many, many more groups provide turkeys and other items for the Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. “We absolutely could not do this with our own limited staff and small space without the help of our partners,” says David.
Executive Chef Andrew Poliquin from the Crabtree Marriott, a part of Concord, agrees with David. “We prepared 80 turkeys and made 10 gallons of gravy at Thanksgiving. The gravy was the best I’ve ever made – I got it just right! We’ll do the same at Christmas and we’re so happy to do it. Y’all don’t have the space at the Mission. We can start the week before and get everything ready in between serving our hotel guests and conference groups. We consider it a privilege to be a small part of what Raleigh Rescue is doing.”
Gobbles to Go winds down by late morning and the dining hall is put back in order, just in time for the men, women and children at the Mission to enjoy a traditional holiday meal together. It’s a special time for us at Raleigh Rescue Mission, and we give thanks for the volunteers, staff, donors and partners who make the holiday season so special for our clients and the greater community.