Stressed about cooking for your big family this Thanksgiving? Imagine cooking 10,000 meals.
That’s exactly what The Salvation Army and Manhattan caterer Great Performances set out to do Tuesday.
In a partnership with The Salvation Army, the catering company will serve 1,000 out of a total of 10,000 meals to underprivileged New Yorkers at The Salvation Army’s 14th street location. Various companies, volunteers and paid cooks at other Salvation Army locations will account for the remaining meals.
“We first met up with The Salvation Army in the post 9/11 world,” said Great Performances CEO Liz Neumark. “We just developed really deep and special relationships with people who do emergency food service.”
Neumark said it was after developing those relationships that she realized that as a caterer, Great Performances had the capacity to put out specialty, high-caliber meals which sometimes big emergency food suppliers couldn’t do.
“We cook everything from scratch,” she said. “For people in need, people in crisis … food is very important. It has an enormous impact on their well being and on their lives.”
The catering company is known to serve a privileged clientele in New York City but Great Performances chefs and cooks will grapple with a total of 390 pounds of sliced roast turkey breast, 24 gallons of gravy, 120 pies and more in order to put high-quality meals on the table for underprivileged New Yorkers.
Neumark said participating in this Thanksgiving tradition allows the company to give back to a broader community of neighbors.
“We deal with issues around hunger from a statistical perspective,” she added. “And what this does is makes it very personal for us.”
Neumark said a meal of this magnitude takes about 25 cooks in the kitchen along with chefs and management staff who are paid to provide the meals — a feat made possible by two large private donations to The Salvation Army. On site, the operation will require several dozen Great Performances servers who volunteer with their families.
The Salvation Army will be organizing several sit-down Thanksgiving events of this type throughout the week at most of their 38 community centers across the greater New York metro area.