Moscow Elks volunteers prepare free thanksgiving feast

MOSCOW, ID - If you're getting nervous about preparing a big meal for your family Thursday, just imagine preparing a Thanksgiving feast for more than a hundred people.

That's exactly what the Moscow Elks are doing at Saint Mary's Catholic Church.

"It makes me feel good to do it," said Elks member Samie Valin. "And I do more because my daughter jumps me sometimes."

"It's a sit-down, traditional Thanksgiving dinner," said Elks member Steven Meier. "So we have turkey, and stuffing, and cranberry sauce, and of course we have a little pie with our cool whip."

Volunteers spent Wednesday washing, peeling, and chopping to prepare for Thursday's community wide Thanksgiving meal.

"I don't care what it is, if I can do it, I'll do it, or I'll learn to do it," said Valin.

"This is a full day process," said Meier. "We go all day today, and I'll be in here tomorrow at six in the morning to get things going and then we will go until we're done."

Thursday, this room will be filled with more than 150 guests. And if it wasn't for this meal they may have had to spend Thanksgiving alone.

"It's for anybody who's lonely, or needy, or alone, and can come out and join us," said Meier.

This is a free meal that is offered to everyone from college students that couldn't make it home, to people who can't afford to make their own feast.

"The response is phenomenal," said Meier. "We have people everywhere from elderly who come in and want to have a place to be with other people, and we have people who are totally homeless. Last year we had a guy that was living under a porch that came in. And that's what it's all about."

Wednesday's hard work will feed a lot of people, but for the Elks it not all about numbers. It's about helping the community.

"Even if we served one person, one person in need, the whole meal would be a success," said Meier.