Students from the Culinary Arts and Hospitality program as well as the Hospitality & Human Services program at the Southern Adirondack Education Center (SAEC) in Hudson Falls began preparations for Hometown Thanksgiving, an event that provides hundreds to thousands (over the years) of free Thanksgiving meals to the Glens Falls community and surrounding areas.
The classes received 40 turkeys (800 lbs), which they cooked-off, brokedown, and picked the bones for as much meat as possible. The meat was then portioned into hotel pans; and the bones were simmered for a few days to make stock, which was then turned into gravy (40 gallons). The students are a part of each process where they learn, from beginning to end, how to make these items.
Each year, Hicks Orchard donates their apples for this event. SAEC students traveled to the orchard to gather the apples. This year, approximately 1,100 pounds of apples were collected. 300 pounds will be donated to the Warren-Hamilton Counties Community Action in Glens Falls. Community Action offers programs and services for income-eligible, senior, disabled or in-need residents of Warren and Hamilton Counties in New York State.
Back in class, students peel, slice and prep the apples to make apple pies and apple crisp for the Thanksgiving meal. Any scraps from the apples, such as the skins and cores, are donated to local farms. Pumpkin pies are also made. The students make the crusts, fillings and decorate the pies with designs to showcase their work.
This annual project is in collaboration with SUNY Adirondack’s culinary program where they too roast off another 35-40 turkeys, prep apples and make the sides.
Kameron Melucci, a senior from Queensbury UFSD, said this is his second year preparing the food for this event. He said, "it is fun to create the food and hear how the people enjoy it. It's a good feeling to be a part of this."
Charity Lupo, a senior from Johnsburg CSD said, "This is a great organization to have. I believe the work we're doing for Hometown Thanksgiving is really nice because it brings in the community and everybody comes together, which is something a meal does - bring people together."
Hometown Thanksgiving Co-president, Jimi Grimmer, said, “every year, Hometown Thanksgiving serves over 1,500 meals to members of our great community. We wouldn't be able to do any of this without the help of all of our supporters, donors, volunteers and the culinary students of both the WSWHE BOCES and SUNY Adirondack programs."
The Hometown Thanksgiving meal will be on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 23, 2023 from 12:00-2:00 PM at the Christ United Methodist Church, 54 Bay St, Glens Falls, NY.
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