TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - It's one thing to prepare a Thanksgiving meal for your immediate family. It's another to have more than 400 mouths to feed!
Dining Room Manager at Westminster Village, Payton Hutson, says "It's a long process. There's a lot of planning usually at the beginning of November since this is one of the biggest holidays we do serve, but it's very rewarding."
It takes a village to feed the folks at Westminster Village in Terre Haute. Each year a Thanksgiving meal is prepared for residents, and family members and friends flood the dining rooms in droves.
Huston says, "We have 200 reservations that people have already booked with us but we'll probably do about 450 meals today."
Hutson oversees part of the operation. She says it takes all hands on deck for the big event to come together.
Hutson says, "While the kitchen is preparing the food we are just getting silverware ready, getting the buffet part ready, and making sure our tables are dressed."
Staff members reported before dawn Thursday to start putting the finishing touches on the feast to come, all for their adored residents, including Libby Cieciura.
Cieciura says,"There just isn't the communication that there used to be around the table. Rarely do families even eat together for dinner anymore."
Cieciura especially loves the dinner, because it's an event that brings her daughter, and dear friends, close.
She says, “You make new friends but keep the old because one is silver and one is gold. And I have sterling silver friends here so I’m going to be eating with them and I think the 7 of us are going to be eating together and that is swell."
Even though Hutson is technically working the holiday, she says the task is the farthest thing from it.
Hutson says, "This will be my 6th Thanksgiving here I’ve worked it every year, and it's just so nice to see everyone. It doesn't feel like you're not spending time with your family, because everybody here feels like family."
Hutson says preparing the food starts days in advance, and talk about a spread! Hutson says the staff prepared six – 20 pound turkeys, four hams, and all the fixin’s.