One thousand guests.
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Two days of Thanksgiving dinners.
And you thought you were cooking for a crowd.
The challenge of preparing a large quantity of food for a large number of people hasn't been lost on the more than 70 young people who volunteered to provide holiday meals this week at The Salvation Army and Lifehouse Church West in Hagerstown.
From the beginning, they've been aware of the hours that would be spent fundraising, shopping, cooking and baking.
But they've never looked at it as a chore.
Instead, it's a way to help those in need.
This is the second year that students of Hagerstown Community College sociology instructor Daniel Madron have participated in the outreach project.
And, although many have limited culinary skills, they've quickly learned their way around a kitchen. They've also learned something about themselves and the community in which they live.
"It's a chance to experience sociology in the real world," Madron said.
In addition to the meals at Lifehouse West, served on Nov. 22 and today at The Salvation Army, the students are providing dinners to five families through the Community Action Council and will be handing out 50 dinners that Bob Evans Restaurant has donated to CAC.
"My guess is we will reach more than 1,000 people this Thanksgiving," Madron said.
The entire project, he noted, "all comes from the students, who are involved in food raising, food preparation, serving, delivery, cleanup or some combination. It's really cool to see this whole process work."
Madron said the students have been discussing the outreach project since the beginning of the semester and began seriously planning the meals about a month ago.
The biggest job, he said, is cooking the turkeys. This week, the students expected to cook about 20 turkeys at each location or about 600 pounds of poultry.
"The turkeys are cooked ahead of time," Madron explained, "so it takes some advance preparation."
In addition to turkey, the students also prepare pounds of mashed potatoes, yams, green beans, rolls, cranberry sauce and pie.
Madron said volunteers at Lifehouse West "do a lot of the preparation and we do the serving. At The Salvation Army, we do most of the preparation and serving. I asked that we prepare the food so that my students understand what goes on in places like this. It also gives normal workers a break."