After volunteers prepared hundreds of pounds of turkey, stuffing, gravy, and all the fixings, the Pine Street Inn will serve a Thanksgiving meal to guests at their shelters and permanent housing locations throughout the city Thursday.
At the organization’s headquarters in the South End, Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg will stop by around 10:30 a.m. to carve turkeys and interact with the guests, the organization said in a statement.
The tradition of serving the shelters’ guests Thanksgiving lunches has been around for at least 10 years, and probably even longer, Pine Street Inn spokeswoman Barbara Trevisan said.
“We’ve been doing it for many, many years, probably almost as long as we’ve been in existence,” she said. “Since it’s a day that’s so much about family and friends, and if you’re here chances are you’ve lost connection with your family and friends, we try to make it as festive as possible.”
Volunteers have been hard at work all week, preparing 74 25-pound turkeys, 500 pounds of mashed potatoes, 51 gallons of gravy, 402 pounds of stuffing, 212 pounds of cranberry sauce, 521 pounds of corn and peas, and an assortment of traditional pies, the organization said.
The troops will rally again at 5 a.m. Thursday to decorate the dining room, and by 11:30 a.m., around 2,000 Pine Street Inn guests and residents will be served a hot meal.
“Part of what we do here 365 days a year is we provide meals for our guests, and we have volunteers here 365 days a year,” Trevisan said. “Our guests are really grateful to have this kind of support from the community.”
Guests and residents in the shelters and homes aren’t the only ones who are grateful for the Pine Street Inn on Thanksgiving, Trevisan said. Some of the volunteers come back year after year, and there’s even a waiting list for people looking to lend a hand.
“They just feel a really strong bond with us and with our guests,” she said. “This day is about gratitude. People come in and thank us for letting them come in” to volunteer.
Walsh and Rosenberg also cherish the tradition, Trevisan said.
“When the mayor comes, often times our guests will go up to him and talk to him,” she said. “He really seems to enjoy interacting with our guests as well.”
Thursday’s meal will feature food, games, and movies, as usual, as well as a story from two Pine Street guests, Barbara and Jeanne, who will soon be moving into an apartment of their own.
The women had crossed paths before losing their jobs and moving into the inn, and when they reconnected there, they quickly learned they’d be able to afford an apartment if they split the cost, Trevisan said. They’ll be moving into their new place soon, but they still feel connected to Pine Street.
“We’re very pleased [that they’re speaking], and they see it as their way to give back,” she said.
The other residents also anticipate the special day each year, eager to interact with those in the community who care, she said.
“They look forward to it,” Trevisan said. “You can feel the energy here this week.”Alyssa Meyers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @ameyers_.