32nd annual Thanksgiving Day Buffet preparations are underway
The College of St. Scholastica will once again host the annual Twin Ports Region Thanksgiving Day Buffet. Traditionally the event is held at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center, however, due to COVID-19 precautions, organizers have developed a new model to safely serve the community.
Hundreds of community volunteers will prepare and deliver approximately 5,000 meals the week of Thanksgiving. The traditional Thanksgiving meal will come with all of the trimmings, including roasted turkey, potatoes, gravy, stuffing, corn, dinner rolls and dessert.
All meals are free thanks to the generosity of The College of St. Scholastica donors and community supporters. Meals will be fully cooked and in individual serving containers.
There are two ways that individuals and families can access meals:
For those who are homebound in the Twin Ports region (Duluth/Superior, Two Harbors, Hermantown, Esko and Cloquet), they can request a meal for themselves as well as their caregiver. Individuals who need a meal delivered to their home must call 218-723-6484 to reserve their meal. Requests must be received by noon on Friday, Nov. 19. Due to the volume of requests, organizers ask that only those that are truly homebound request a meal. Teams will deliver approximately 1,600 meals on Thanksgiving morning.
Satellite pick-up meals:
In order to serve the greater community, organizers have arranged meals for local pick up in select locations on Thanksgiving Day. These meals are for anyone in the community who is in need. Allocation will be on an honor system and organizers ask that individuals and families only take what is needed for their Thanksgiving Day meal.
Those in need can drive to one of six area satellite locations on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, from 10 a.m.–Noon:
- Duluth Harbor Mission (2910 W. 3rd St. Duluth, MN 55806)
- Damiano (206 W. 4th St., Duluth MN 55806)
- Volunteer Services of Carlton County (199 Chestnut Ave, Carlton, MN 55718)
- Mission Creek Church (521 131st Ave. W. Duluth, MN 55808)
- First United Methodist Church (230 E. Skyline Parkway, Duluth MN 55811)
- Peace in Christ Church (5007 Maple Grove Road, Hermantown MN 55811)
As always, any remaining food is rescued by Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank the day after Thanksgiving and is re-distributed to area agencies.
Ways to help: donations and volunteers
As always, it takes a community to support the community. In order to keep this event free of charge, monetary donations are needed and welcome. Community supporters can make a donation in two ways:
- Online at css.edu/thanksgiving
- Mail a donation to The College of St. Scholastica, attention: Thanksgiving Buffet, 1200 Kenwood Ave., Duluth, MN 55811
The event is also in need of more volunteers — filling 5,000 meal containers will take many hands to make light work. Volunteers are needed Monday through Thursday the week of Thanksgiving. Those who are interested in these positions can go to css.edu/thanksgiving to register for open positions.
Journalist coverage and interview opportunities
Journalists are invited to cover preparations at the DECC kitchen and are asked to contact coordinator Monica Hendrickson, event organizer at 218-348-2268 prior to any interviews on-site. The best times for the most action are:
- Friday, Nov. 19, unloading of the product at the DECC (door 9 – Fitzgerald Hall), times are to be determined by the delivery window. Typically, between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.
- Thanksgiving Week — mornings are the busiest from 9:30 a.m.–Noon — DECC Kitchen
- Monday: chopping veggies, peeling potatoes, cooking turkey and stuffing
- Tuesday: slicing turkey, making cranberry cups and cooking potatoes
- Wednesday: filling 10,000 containers! 5,000 containers are filled with the “hot” foods and 5,000 containers are filled with the “cold” foods
- Thanksgiving Day: Door 9/Fitzgerald Hall at the DECC and UPS Customer Contact Center (must contact Monica Hendrickson 218-348-2268 to arrange UPS on-site meet-up prior to any filming or interviews). The busiest time on Thanksgiving Day will be between 8-10 a.m.