LINCOLN, Maine – Thanksgiving is not much of a holiday for Cole Averill.
The head chef at Gillmor’s Restaurant, Averill will begin preparing for the restaurant’s free Thanksgiving Day dinner by baking pies on Monday. He will cook 12 turkeys on Tuesday all night until noon on Wednesday and prepare side dishes and turkey parts provided by the company’s food suppliers for individual meals on Thanksgiving morning, restaurant owner Catherine Gillmor said.
“It is a lot of work, but it is a strangely fun thing to do,” Gillmor said. “We enjoy giving back to the community.”
The 15 to 20 restaurant volunteers who will serve the dinner from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday typically dish out or deliver 300 to 400 dinners before they are finished.
“There is supposed to be a bad storm on Thanksgiving Day, so I don’t know how many people we will see,” Gillmor said.
The dinners are quintessential Thanksgiving feasts — turkey, stuffing, cranberries, mashed potatoes, dinner rolls and peas with apple or pumpkin pie for dessert, Averill has said. Coffee, tea and soft drinks also will be served.
Gillmor’s began serving the meals in 2006 to fill a community need and say thanks to their customers. Restaurant workers have found that the dinner relieves some of the strain felt by local food pantries around the holidays and provides comfort to many folks who lack family or money for a community meal.
Any Lincoln resident interested in receiving a free meal can telephone 794-6565 or visit the restaurant during the meal. No reservations are required, Averill said.
The restaurant also needs volunteers to deliver meals to people’s homes — in Lincoln only – and serve them at the restaurant. Anyone interested in volunteering or donating money or supplies should call the restaurant as soon as possible, Gillmor said.
Bangor Savings Bank, H.C. Haynes Inc., Lincoln Paper & Tissue LLC, and Sleeping Bear Campground are among the concerns that each gave $100 to the dinner, Gillmor said.