CEDAR RAPIDS Iowa – If you think you've got a lot of cooking to do for a Thanksgiving feast, think again.
The Salvation Army in Cedar Rapids has been working since Monday to create enough food for more than 400 people.
Kitchen staff members said they were cooking 30 turkeys, which produces 375 pounds of meat for the crowd. They also mashed up 200 pounds of potatoes and whiped up four gallons of gravy. And you can't forget the pumpkin pie. Cooks have 24 pounds of cool whip to top the traditional Thanksgiving dessert.
On Tuesday, dozens of volunteers gathered to put all of the ingredients together. They form an assembly line to get the job done in just a few hours.
Salvation Army Lt. Michael Sjogren said the meal is always about much more than satisfying the hungry.
"People come in for their physical needs to get met, but also there are a lot of other needs they have. And we find that they find that this is a place they feel comfortable at and have a lot of friendships and this is kind of their family so this is why we continue to serve," Lt. Sjogren said.
This is the Salvation Army's biggest community meal of the year, and it's tradition to hold it the day before Thanksgiving.
Lt. Sjogren said the meal program is vital to the community. Last year, the Salvation Army in Cedar Rapids served 53,000 hot meals. Lt. Sjogren also said the need for food support is continually growing.
The meal is Wednesday, Nov. 21 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.