The minute the front door opened, a myriad of delicious smells poured out.
It’s been that way since Monday morning at Epicures Catering, when the chefs started preparing all the food for Thanksgiving.
A pan clanked as the last turkeys were stuffed into the oven, while on the other side of the kitchen a pot scraped loudly as a whisk mixed some gravy.
And as the Thursday morning wore on, the main dining hall filled with people until no chairs were left.
But this wasn’t a typical Thanksgiving Day buffet. In fact, the hundred or so people that have woken up early aren’t even here for the food.
Finally as the smell of sweet potatoes, stuffing, and green beans seemed to have permeated every corner of the building, Danny Morrison slid a chair to the front of the room, carefully standing so everyone could see.
“What we want to do is if that meal is not there and you see people standing out on the street you can pass it along, or you can bring it back and we can put it back in the router so we can send it back out again. If you go to a house and you have four meals and they need six, let us know about it. We'll either send it out or you can come back and pick up some more meals,” Morrison said.
After a few more words of instruction, Morrison wished the crowd good luck, the same way he had done for the last 25 years.
The volunteers, who gave up their Thanksgiving morning to come help Morrison out, went to their various assigned roles, some as food servers, others as delivery drivers, and even some that just picked up the trash. Their main objective: to provide free meals to families in the Brazos Valley that may not otherwise have had one.
“This is an issue that I try to call attention to it one day a year. You know it happens everyday out of the year that someone goes hungry in our community,” Morrison said.
With 1,200 meals to deliver across the area, the workers moved at a quick pace, handing out slips of paper with addresses and boxing up the lunches so the delivery drivers could hit the streets.
When first-time volunteers Sylvia and Joe Trejo heard that their son wasn’t coming home for Thanksgiving so he could help out, they made the five-hour drive from Alice to serve with him.
“I think this is wonderful seeing so many people out here wanting to help out. And taking these plates to people that need it is a wonderful feeling. And that's what I'm feeling right now. It's really worthwhile to spend our time to do this for a community,” Sylvia said.
The Trejos stood in line for almost an hour, waiting to receive their box of food to deliver. Once the two boxes of meals was handed to them, the pair walked to the car at a brisk pace, as if any time wasted would spoil the meal.
After a few wrong turns in an unfamiliar town, they finally found their destination. Sylvia checked the contents of the box one last time, before walking to the front door.
They were greeted by a Hispanic woman and her family, who only spoke Spanish. They smiled as they took the box from the hand of the Trejos, thanking them multiple times as if they had cooked the meal.
After a verbal exchange in Spanish, Syliva walked away with a smile on her face.
“She felt very happy that this service was being done, and knowing that there were people in the community that did this service. And she is very happy that her children are able to have this special meal on this special day,” Sylvia said.
And it was all thanks to the few hundred people that gave up part of their Thanksgiving Day, to make sure someone else had one.
“It feels great doing this, doing something really worthwhile, and being part of something that’s being going on for 25 years,” Sylvia said.