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Thanksgiving prep: a pinch of seasoning, a lot of care

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 4:49 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Once again this year, the Salvation Army in Watertown is preparing hundreds of Thanksgiving meals to go, as the COVID pandemic continues to make large gatherings difficult.

Volunteers were busy Wednesday, making sure everything was ready. Among them, Nadji Booker, who was adding seasoning to turkeys.

It’s his favorite part, “the smell of the seasoning when I put it on,” he explained to a reporter. Nadji said he was volunteering his time while his school’s on break “so people that come here can have a good meal.”

The Salvation Army’s leader, Captain Dom Nicoll, is expecting a lot of people to stop by on Thanksgiving to take a meal to go, COVID precautions stopping people from sitting inside to eat.

“Last year we were able to serve over 800 meals in our community, and we’re thinking we’re going to be somewhere around the same the year,” he said.

To feed that many folks it takes more than two dozen turkeys, potatoes by the pot full, a pile of veggies - and volunteers like Shantee Elliott, who was inspired by her grandma.

“Seeing her is kind of how I’ve turned into who I am. You help out when you can, if you can. And, everything comes back around eventually,” Shantee said.

The Salvation Army will start passing out meals on Thanksgiving at 11 a-m at their Watertown location. Volunteers will also be driving to drop off meals to people. Shantee Elliott plans to be one of them.

A lot goes into making the day work. Nicoll remembers who they’re working for: “those who aren’t able to come together for a family meal, those who don’t want to cook a turkey just for themselves. They’re able to still come and enjoy this time of year.”

One thing Nicoll looks forward to?

The day not all the meals are “to go,” and people can sit down in the Salvation Army again to enjoy Thanksgiving - together.

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