Goal is to feed 2,000 at Grady's in J.C.

By Greg Miller
STAR STAFF
gmiller@starhq.com
JOHNSON CITY -- The goal of "Grady's Gives Thanks" is to feed 2,000 people at this year's Thanksgiving Day dinner held at Grady's American Grill, according to Sarah Wells, director of Good Samaritan Ministries who is coordinating the event with the restaurant.
"Last year, we did go into Carter County for the elderly, so we're going to expand that service this year, making sure we go to Courtyard Apartments," Wells said.
"If anybody from Elizabethton wants to come, they're welcome to come, but we will be actually picking them up and taking them back from Courtyard Apartments. That schedule will be published shortly, and we're working on that now. Anyone can call here to Good Samaritan Ministries and let us know that they need transportation and we're going to bring them all at the same time."
Thirteen hundred people were fed through the "Grady's Gives Thanks" program last year. Seven hundred people were fed two years ago.
The menu for this year's Thanksgiving feast includes turkey, ham, green beans, stuffing, creamed potatoes, sweet potatoes, rolls and pumpkin pie.
Grady's employees "volunteer their time and come in and prepare the full meal," Wells said.
Volunteers are also needed to drive the vans. "We're going to be needing van drivers, those who would like to bring their church vans and pick up and deliver," Wells said. "We'll be picking up at our spots every 30 minutes throughout the day, starting at 10:30 in the morning and going until our last pickup at 5 o'clock and delivering them back to their homes at 5:30 p.m.
Wells said waiters, waitresses and hostesses are also needed for the dinner. "We're going to deliver meals out to the homebound of our area. We took out approximately 120 meals last year. I have 170 so far this year." The meals will be ready for delivery by 10:30 a.m. Thanksgiving morning.
Carter County, Washington County, and Sullivan County residents were among those who gave of their time to make last year's event a success, Wells said. "We had lots of volunteers from different churches that brought their church vans and came out," she remarked.
Those with musical talent are needed to provide entertainment for those who are eating. "We're going to have live music throughout the whole day," Wells said. Heather Street is coordinating the entertainment.
Leftovers from the event will be donated to Second Harvest Food Bank's Second Helping's Food Rescue Program. "That will come back to our feeding program," Wells said.
Those who attend will be receiving a special packet containing gloves, a hat and a scarf.
"Ray Oler and Keith Ball are the two from Grady's that started this and have worked together each year to see it become a success," Wells said.
Food items needed for the meal include 60 turkeys, 300 pounds of ham, 200 pumpkin pies, 3,000 dinner rolls and 30 cases of green beans, corn and mashed potatoes.
Contributions may be sent to Good Samaritan Ministries, P.O. Box 2441, Johnson City, TN 37605-2441.
For volunteer opportunities, call Pete Ball at Grady's American Grill at 282-2722. To volunteer to sing, call Street at 773-2020. To schedule transportation, call Good Samaritan Ministries at 928-0288.