Heat ‘n’ serve rolls are another handy holiday staple hat can be prepped ahead of time. Brown estimates he has prepared and frozen 40 flats of the rolls. Flats are stackable plastic carrying trays, with each flat containing about 240 individual rolls. (That’s almost 1,000 rolls!) On Thanksgiving morning, when the roasted turkeys, hams, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and other traditional meal staples are being cooked and carried out to the steam table for waiting guests, the rolls can be popped into the ovens at the last minute.
Although donations of food to our Open Hand Kitchen usually pick up during the holidays, they are not guaranteed, which can make planning tricky at times. Chef Norm said the kitchen needs about 150 turkeys and 300 hams to get through the holiday season –starting with Thanksgiving and extending through Christmas and New Year’s.
Local supermarket chains such as The Kroger Co. and Meijer have been generous in donating these items in the past, and he is counting on them to come through again this year. In addition, volunteers and organizations often stop by with boxes or bags of much-needed food items. The 10-pound, pre-cooked hams are especially practical for serving in large quantities, Norm says. He and his kitchen staff can prepare a glaze to be brushed on top of the meat before being baked and sliced for serving on holidays.
Desserts are usually abundant at the holidays, with area bakeries such as Heitzman’s and the Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen pitching in with Thanksgiving favorites such as pumpkin and apple pies.
Given the increase in the number of people eating their meals in our OpenHand Kitchen, Norm expects big crowds for the 2012 holiday season. Last year, the kitchen served 94,000 meals, and this year we expect that number to increase to 120,000. On average, St. Vincent de Paul’s Open Hand Kitchen is serving about 10,000 meals each month to men, women and children who would go hungry without this critical outreach. As always, these meals are free and open to anyone in need.
Your generous donations make this mission possible, not only at the holidays, but also 365 days a year.