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Thanksgiving for all with Hospitality House

On+Oct.+28%2C+2023+a+tower+of+Sunkist+oranges+overlaps+a+full+pantry+ready+to+be+served.+%0A
Landon Williams
On Oct. 28, 2023 a tower of Sunkist oranges overlaps a full pantry ready to be served.

For most people, Thanksgiving is a day of good food, good company and, of course, gratitude.

This Thanksgiving Day, Hospitality House wishes to share the holiday spirit with the Boone community this year with their 12th annual Thanksgiving dinner.

Anyone and everyone within the community is welcome to get a fresh, home-cooked meal. Doors open at noon and close once everyone has had their fill.

“Our community kitchen is just that, it’s a community kitchen,” said Todd Carter, the chief development director of Hospitality House in Northwest North Carolina. “The doors are open to anyone who wants a really good Thanksgiving meal. It’s open to everyone. College students that are here and can’t go home or whatever, anybody can come here and eat.”

Emily Lowe, the food service coordinator, also stressed that anyone is welcome at any point. Students, locals or anybody who doesn’t want to eat alone.

Guests can sit in the dining room or swing by for a grab-n-go meal that will be available on the front porch. Either way, people can enjoy all the classic Thanksgiving dishes made in-house. 

The staff will be cooking and preparing the meal a week in advance to serve the full spread of traditional Thanksgiving foods including stuffing, mashed potatoes or mashed yams, Stick Boy rolls, Hatchet coffee, corn and green beans. The kitchen is also preparing 16 full-sized turkeys to feed anyone who walks through the door,

“We are really committed to dignity,” Carter said. “We want to do everything as dignified as possible. Everyone deserves a real Thanksgiving meal.” 

Hospitality House has hosted their Thanksgiving dinners since they moved into the building in 2011.

“I’ve got pictures back then of people sitting outside, sitting on the picnic table for this,” Carter said. 

 Hospitality House saw the return of outdoor dining during the COVID pandemic. The shelter slowed down, but did not stop, and is working its way back to normal.

“With COVID, the first year we set up outside with heaters and tents and tables for people to have a place to eat,” Carter said. “The people who lived here could eat in the dining room, but the people who didn’t ate outside.”

This year, Hospitality House is excited to have their guests be able to enjoy the warmth of the dining room. Lowe was excited to hear that they will be using the serving line for the first time in six months.

One of many boxes filled with fresh apples for the pantry in the Hospitality House on Oct 18, 2023. (Landon Williams )

“It’s kind of a big deal when we serve out of the serving line because we don’t do it very often, especially since COVID,” Lowe said. “So we’ll have volunteers actually plating the food for a change.”

The usual way the kitchen functions is to pre-package all meals into styrofoam boxes and hand them out. This leaves clients with no room to pick-and-choose what foods they want. Being able to select from an array of options has created some excitement, said Lowe.

For those looking to give back, the food pantry will take donations of traditional Thanksgiving foods such as stuffing, whipped cream, corn and potatoes. However, they do ask for people to go easy on the cranberry sauce as it is the most common item they receive. Donations are also accepted year-round and are much needed due to the recent increase in the usage of the food pantry. 

Carter also noted that anyone who does not have a personal mode of transportation and is wanting to attend can take the Green route of the AppalCart which will be available, despite holiday hours.

Hospitality House is always taking volunteer applications for their events, such as Christmas or their Super Bowl party. Applications can be found on their website under the “get involved” tab.

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About the Contributors
Katelin Potter
Katelin Potter, Reporter

Katelin Potter (she/her) is a senior with a double major in public relations and journalism with a minor in general business. She's from the Raleigh area and loves plants, bees, skiing and books.

Landon Williams, Photographer
Landon Williams (he/him) is a Junior majoring in Commercial Photography from Winston Salem, NC. This is his second year with The Appalachian. 
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