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Arlington Knights plan to expand this year’s delivery-only Thanksgiving feast

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For 35 years, the Arlington Council of the Knights of Columbus has been known for its huge community Thanksgiving dinners that provided meals for 200 to 300 guests in person, with hundreds more meals delivered to shelters, low-income communities and Meals on Wheels recipients. 

Some years, as many as 3,000 people enjoyed the feast, and a small army of volunteers juggled turkeys and the logistics of deliveries, said Kate Gilchrist McMorrow, who took on organizing the event last year with her Knight husband Myles; they will organize it again this year.

For the first time last year, the dinner was for delivery only because of COVID-19 restrictions, and that will be the case again this year. “Hopefully this is our last year for not having the ‘sit-down,’ ” she said. 

She said this year she has reached out to many more shelters and low-income apartments to try to serve more people in need. “In 2020, we were able to serve about 1,500 meals. This year, I am hoping for 2,500 to 3,000,” she said. 

Arlington Council 2473 covers four parishes — St. Ann, St. Charles Borromeo and St. Agnes in Arlington, and St. James in Falls Church.

Like last year, because of COVID concerns, they cannot accept cooked turkeys; all turkeys will be purchased and cooked in-house in the Knights’ commercial kitchen and everyone handling the food will be fully vaccinated, she said. 

Because of the generosity of the community last year, the Knights were able to purchase all the food, paper goods, bags and boxes to ensure safe delivery of all of those meals. “And we thank you!” McMorrow said.

“Last year, my husband and his brother Knights cooked and carved 95 turkeys,” and they are ordering 135 this year, she said. The meals will consist of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables, a roll and a dessert. Bread and pastries are donated by Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe in Arlington.

McMorrow said the team will start defrosting the 20- to 22-pound turkeys the Friday night before Thanksgiving, and on Monday, the cooks will begin their work. “They cook and carve from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Wednesday. On Thanksgiving day, we are there at 4 a.m.” 

Then delivery teams will begin carrying out the individually packaged meals, working from 9 a.m. to about 2:30 p.m. Nov. 25.  

The Knights again will do contactless door-to-door delivery, and in addition to monetary donations, they are seeking volunteers to deliver meals. McMorrow said 73 people helped deliver meals last year, and more will be needed this year. 

“This is a wonderful opportunity for families to be able to give back and serve the community,” she said, adding that the Knights “are so grateful for all the support we received last year and look forward to making 2021 even better.” 

How to help

To make a donation, go to Arlingtonknights.org, click on the “donate” tab and scroll down to select Thanksgiving meals; call the council office at 703/536-9656, ext. 320; or mail a check to Arlington Knights Council 2473, 5115 Little Falls Rd., Arlington, Va., 22207. 

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021