By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
01:19PM / Thursday, November 28, 2019
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The parish hall at All Saints Episcopal Church was abuzz with the activity of more than two dozen volunteers of all ages on Wednesday evening.
All the potato peeling, pie packaging and cranberry sauce portioning was in preparation to ensure nearly 200 local seniors would have a Thanksgiving feast this Thursday.
“Over 35 years, you just figure out a way to make it happen,” coordinator Shannon Daugherty said, snapping her fingers. “We’ve got this down to a science.”
The annual event is hosted by the church and plenty of parishioners volunteeer, but many of them are also related so it’s become something of a family affair.
Daugherty’s mother, Diane Bleau, spearheaded the effort and she has worked her way up through the ranks in a way, starting at the kids’ table scooping out cranberry sauce into plastic cups.
“There’s a lot of family here,” she said, pointing to cousins, in-laws and children, and her sister in the office. “Our kids are all here … we’ve got family and friends.”
The tasks on Wednesday included peeling nearly 100 pounds of potatoes, slicing up some 30 pumpkin pies, bagging the pie slices and rolls to go with each meal. The turkeys and mashed potatoes are cooked on Thanksgiving morning along with stuffing, and peas and carrots that are then served assembly line style for delivery. The food is provided through donations and the Northern Berkshire United Way.
“My cousin and I will be down here about 5:30 tomorrow morning putting turkeys in the oven and ready, and then everybody else will show up around 11,” Daugherty said.
The effort involves a host of volunteers who show up on Thanksgiving morning to sweep away the pre-served, homemade meals to people who have registered for a visit.
While their prepping to feed those with nowhere, they’ve made their own arrangements for family get-together once it’s all over and done.
Daugherty said the numbers have dipped a little bit, and she thinks that’s because the baby boomers has “popped.” But they’re prepared for any last-minute calls on Thursday morning.
“One year I think we had a homeless man was out front and we invited him in,” she said. “It’s not our main population, you know, but if someone’s out there we can help, we will.”
“The Police Department, the Fire Department, we call them too and send them meals if we have any.”
Her cousin, Syid Uqdah, said if they have any leftovers, they have figure out what to do with them so it makes sense to offer them to people working on Thanksgiving.
“Whoever’s in need, we’re here to feed them,” he said.