For thirty years the owners of the Windmill Restaurant have been giving out free Thanksgiving meals to those in need.
In past years, those who needed a meal would come inside the Loudon Road restaurant to eat, laugh and enjoy, but this year was different.
With pandemic restrictions in place, families had to either pull by in car or call for free delivery within a 5-10 mile radius.
As we have for several years, my father and I volunteered to help wherever the Windmill staff needed us the most. At first we were assigned to delivery, but as dozens of fellow volunteers arrived, we were moved inside to help prepare meals.
Inside helpers cut pies, prepared dinners and placed meals into boxes while food got cooked out back. Outside volunteers delivered meals to people in a line of cars that stretched down the street past several storefronts.
After spending 10 minutes inside cutting pies, I wandered outside to see the traffic and quickly got recruited to assist in directing traffic. Mostly this involved making sure the line of cars kept moving on a cold and rainy Thanksgiving Day.
Outside I worked with a man dressed as Santa Claus and another employee. Together we helped people move quickly and efficiently as they chose among soda and water options and collected, in addition to pie, a free, warm Thanksgiving meal that included turkey, mashed potato, stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce and of course the Windmill’s special gravy (which in my opinion was the best part of the meal).
By the time delivery drivers made their last loops, the Windmill Restaurant provided over 900 free meals to those in need from all over the Capital Area, cooking 82 turkeys bought or received for this special annual event.
Community members are working creatively to help neighbors during these particularly challenging times. Concord High School has begun a GoFundMe campaign in lieu of its traditional annual canned food drive.
“We are raising money to benefit the Capitol Region Food Program and their mission of supplying over 2000 families with holiday meals and food for two weeks,” said teacher Kristina Peare, one of the faculty coordinators for the student-driven project.
“Concord High School has always risen to the challenge and used its compassion and community spirit to support the Holiday Food Basket Program, last year raising over $8000 and donating two pallets of highly nutritious food. This year, we would love to raise our donation to $10,000 . . a lofty goal but we think we can do it!” Peare wrote on the GoFundMe page.
“We have several people who have agreed to donate to cover the cost of the processing (1.9% and 30 cents per donation) so that 100% of our contribution still goes directly to the CRFP to buy food! (Remember, they are 100% volunteer with NO overhead costs – every penny buys FOOD!)”
People can contribute anonymously. Donations of all sizes are welcome.
To visit the CHS GoFundMe page, click on this link: https://gf.me/u/y9a3k5.