Kitchen staff from the Inverness Hotel will begin preparing the turkeys at 2 a.m. on Thursday morning, and will also cook 200 pumpkin pies and 100 lbs. of potatoes for the annual feast. "It's just a good opportunity to give back, not just myself, but a staff of about 10 other people," said Executive Chef Rodney Herwerth from the Inverness Hotel.
Herwerth helped cook the feast last year as well, and the Inverness has been involved for more than 10 years. "For me, by the time this is done, I could care less if I ever looked at a piece of turkey again," joked Herwerth.
The Thanksgiving dinner is free and open to the public, and the Salvation Army expects 1,200 to 1,400 people will attend the feast. Roger Miller, Metro Denver public relations officer for the Salvation Army, said the nonprofit also depends on volunteers to lend a hand with serving the food.
“We usually get around 200 volunteers to help with this, and its everyone from individuals to companies," said Miller. One volunteer has been helping out for more than 50 years, and the Salvation Army estimates the dinner has been held for 53 or 54 years. King Soopers donates all the food for the meal.
The Salvation Army, founded by English minister William Booth in 1865, is an evangelical arm of the universal Christian Church. The organization welcomes the homeless to the dinner, but also encourages Denver residents who do not have anywhere else to go to attend.
“It’s a dinner not just for the homeless people, it’s for the community, for those who are looking for community and friendship," said Miller. "Those who don’t want to spend the holiday by themselves are welcome to come down and find fellowship.”