Holt Summit Soup Kitchen is gearing up for its pre-Thanksgiving

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The annual Holts Summit Soup Kitchen pre-Thanksgiving dinner takes place on Thursday.

And staff members have a lot of work to do.

The number of people frequenting the kitchen – it serves free meals on Tuesdays and Thursdays – continues to grow, according to soup kitchen coordinator Mary Steck.

When the kitchen started operating, it was feeding between 20 and 30 people every day, she said. But the needs began to grow and soon the kitchen was feeding 100 people at every meal. When the pandemic hit, the numbers regularly hit 200.

On Tuesday, 230 people received meals in the kitchen, which is housed at the Holts Summit Civic Center, 282 Greenway Drive.

But Thanksgiving is different. In 2020, around 200 people showed up for holiday meals (which were drive-in only). In 2021, the kitchen served nearly 300 meals.

Steck said she and staff members will prepare enough food for 400 people on Thursday.

Yes, the kitchen, like everyone else, is struggling with inflation. But several donors stepped up and helped ease its burden.

“Getting the turkeys – I did really well,” Steck said. “We got donations of turkeys – we got money to help buy turkeys. We’re lucky there.”

And the North Elementary School is participating. She received a shopping list and picked up a few items. The school is due to deposit a donation on Monday.

It will help. But donations are always welcome. The kitchen Facebook page shows it is still accepting donations from 1 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Tuesday.

Helpful items include ham, green beans, cream of mushroom soup, sweet potatoes, marshmallows, brown sugar, French onions, rolls, and canned milk.

The pre-Thanksgiving dinner is going to be a celebration of family and friends, Steck said. The kitchen will serve a traditional take-out dinner consisting of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole. But it will also be necessary to reserve tables, so that people can dine and share the holiday meal. It will have seating for approximately 50 people.

Those who choose to dine there will also receive ham and yams.

Volunteers are welcome and needed to help with meal preparation, set-up, service and clean-up.

To donate, reserve a table or volunteer, call 573-301-8181 or 573-291-8877.

Two companies, the Central Bank and State Farm Insurance, offered to participate in the service, Steck said. Several people from the Holts Summit Betterment Association will also participate, she said.

People wishing to help cook must be available from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Those wishing to help serve should be prepared to show up between 3:30 and 3:45 p.m.

The kitchen seems to be getting busier and busier, Steck said. But she always has extra food on hand that she can prepare if the dinners are a bit lacking.

“We made pork steaks on Tuesday, but I ran out and gave fried chicken,” she said. “Oh my God. That was crazy.”

The soup kitchen always has a pantry available when people pass by. There is excess food that cannot be used for meals, Steck said.

“We’re still going to have more people (for Thanksgiving),” she said. “More and more people are discovering us.”

Ethan Weston/News Tribune Dee Beck receives his Thanksgiving meal Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021 at the Holts Summit Civic Center in Holts Summit, Mo. “When we started here with these meals, the crowds were pretty sparse,” Beck said. “But now look at him. It’s a wonderful thing for this community.

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