Preparations underway for 56th annual Frank Veltri Thanksgiving dinner

Preparations underway for 56th annual Frank Veltri Thanksgiving dinner
Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 4:01 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Preparations for a long-standing Thanksgiving tradition are underway in Charleston.

Hundreds of volunteers are teaming up to make the 56th annual Frank Veltri Thanksgiving Dinner for those who may not have access to a warm meal otherwise.

Tables full of pies, rolls, turkey and all the Thanksgiving fixings are almost ready for people in need to come enjoy it.

“It is a lot of food, about 2,200 meals between the sit-in and delivery,” said kitchen coordinator Cynthia Parsons. “We are putting rolls into baggies, we’re breaking down the cranberry sauce, we’re doing 90 trays of stuffing.”

There are more than 200 volunteers cooking, delivering and serving food. Some are new, while some have been helping all 56 years.

“We have a few that are 45 years, 28, I’m 17. So you’ve got people who have been involved, this is tradition,” Parsons said. “It becomes like family thanksgiving, you come together as a family for a week and prepare the dinner together.”

“It just makes me feel good knowing they have somewhere to go and spend time with family and friends and eat for a holiday,” said Carli Smith, 2023 West Virginia Fire EMS Junior Teen.

Those who can’t make it to the in-person meal can get a meal delivered to their door.

“That’s what Frankie wanted,” Parsons said. “He wanted a warm meal to be given to people who are considered shut-ins, disenfranchised, individuals that are in the homeless community.”

On Thanksgiving morning, the volunteers will come back bright and early at 5am to get the meals ready.

“Just the fact that people care about their community enough to show up every single year to make this happen is just heartwarming,” Parsons said.

The schedule for Thanksgiving dinner at St. George Orthodox Cathedral, 190 Court Street, Charleston is as follows:

  • 5 a.m. - Kitchen staff arrive
  • 6 a.m. - Volunteers arrive to tear up turkeys
  • 9 a.m. - Volunteers begin delivery orders
  • 12:30 p.m. -2 p.m. - Eat in sit down meal

Volunteers are welcome to come help or donate. Parsons says they’re looking for drink donations, such as water or soda.

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.