Volunteers get head start on Thanksgiving meal preps at Visalia Rescue Mission

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Visalia non-profit is gearing up for their annual Thanksgiving day dinner.

At the Visalia Rescue Mission kitchen, those in need are served on a first come, first serve basis. But first, volunteers must prepare the food, by stuffing, seasoning, and wrapping it. After all, it is turkey, and their Thanksgiving feast is just two days away.

"We'll get a mixture of people," said VRM Food Services Manager Ken Matney. "We'll get people who are just down on their luck, maybe. Maybe some small families, we'll get a lot of volunteers, and we'll also get people from the homeless community come out just for food."

Jessie Vigil brought her two children to serve lunch on Monday and they came back on Tuesday for the Thanksgiving preps.

Vigil has told her children what matters most about this experience is that they're here helping others, together.

"I just didn't want them home all week with school out, sitting around playing," Vigil said. "I wanted them to experience what it was really about to serve others."

Visalia Rescue Mission organizers say a variety of vendors, restaurants, and food service providers have made donations for the meal. They even got the olive oil from the Fresno Rescue Mission.

"We do the same thing. We kind of pay it forward to other people that might be in need if we have an excess of something," Matney said.

Many turkeys for instance, are on their way to El Granito Foundation in Porterville. Those that are to be served at the mission will be delivered to a deep pit first. They will be returned on Thursday-- dinner is from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

They will do it all over again before Christmas-- but for twice the amount of people.

To volunteer, head to vrmhope.org.
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