Twice a week, Dan McIntyre and his wife, Betty, load up their Chevy pickup truck with meals from St. Michael’s Kitchen to take to homebound Craig residents.
Thanksgiving Day was just like any other Thursday, but with a little less demand.
Dan said that was a good sign.
“Making less deliveries means that more people are spending the holiday with their families,” he said.
He added that more people on the delivery route also took time to come to the church.
They had plenty of company.
The basement of St. Michael Catholic Church, 678 School St., was packed Thursday afternoon with people of all ages. More than 100 people turned out for the free Thanksgiving meal prepared by a staff of more than 20 volunteers.
Robin Schiffbauer was one of the event organizers.
“It’s a great turnout this year, we’re so pleased,” she said.
St. Michael’s Kitchen also offers regular free meals Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, at which Schiffbauer works.
“Since we have a meal here every Thursday anyway, we figured that we couldn’t not do it for Thanksgiving, too,” she said.
Schiffbauer worked for more than 10 hours throughout the day Thursday, coming in at 7 a.m. and helping her staff prepare 16 turkeys, mashed potatoes, yams, stuffing and other holiday edibles people for who began showing up at 4 p.m.
Schiffbauer said the staff set out 100 plates for the day, with about 70 gone in the first hour.
“We didn’t get a chance to take a head count when it first started, but it was busy,” she said.
Rev. Jim Fox took the opportunity to sit and have a cup of coffee and chat with many of the people who came in. He said this Thanksgiving he was grateful for the people who had worked so hard to make the event a success.
“The generosity of the people who have volunteered and donated their time is overwhelming,” he said.
Cathy Copeland manned the dessert table, complete with peach and apple pies, as well as the seasonal favorite, pumpkin, along with plenty of whipped cream. Pans of fudge and miniature cheesecakes atop chocolate chip cookies also flanked the other treats.
Copeland said she didn’t get a chance to contribute any baked goods because of preparing her own Thanksgiving dinner at home earlier in the day, but she wanted to lend a hand.
“I’m pretty fortunate in my family life, so I decided to come down here,” she said. “It’s such an awesome thing for the community. It’s heartwarming.”
Taking advantage of the offerings on the dessert table was 5-year-old Joseph Heskett, who was eating with his parents, Adam and Tami, and brother, Sam, 3.
“I love chocolate,” Joseph said.
He added that in addition to the sweets, he was also glad to have a plateful of turkey, potatoes and macaroni and cheese.
“I’m thankful for dogs and cats this Thanksgiving,” he said.
The Hesketts are regular parishioners at St. Michael Catholic Church.
“We celebrated last week with my wife’s family in Parker,” Adam said. “It didn’t really make sense to cook a whole big meal again, so we just drove around, and we saw that they still had some food left here.”
While the Hesketts were driving around looking for a place to eat, the McIntyres were making their rounds with deliveries from the kitchen, albeit without the help of their usual fellow driver, Randy Caperton, who had family holiday obligations.
“He makes things so much easier for us,” Dan said.
Dan said he has gotten used to delivering for the kitchen, a task for which he happily volunteers.
“Every day is special for this job,” he said. “I love doing it. It’s such a good feeling.”