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-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert

Volunteers have prepared more than 800 Thanksgiving dinners to be distributed to residents going home as part of Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota’s Thanksgiving dinner.

There was organized chaos in Iowa Central Community College’s Hanson Center on Thursday morning, as Iowa Central’s Culinary Arts students scurried through the kitchen to finish cooking their Thanksgiving ingredients, and volunteers Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota’s annual troupe prepare hundreds of ready meals for Thanksgiving. dinner while packing.

While most of their classmates went home for the week for fall break, 11 students in the university’s culinary arts program chose to stay and cook for the more than 2,000 members of the Fort Dodge community.

“That’s what Iowa Central is for,” said Chef Michael Hirst, director of Iowa Central’s Culinary Arts Program. “We keep the word ‘community’ in our name because the school is part of the community and it’s important that it stays that way.”

Fort Dodge Ford for the past 15 years, 2723 Fifth Ave. Hosted a free community Thanksgiving dinner at the dealer showroom at S. The dealer has arrived.

Johnson said he naively thought he’d cook the meal himself, but fortunately, his wife, Deb Johnson, suggested that they partner with Iowa Central and the culinary arts program instead.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert

10-year-old Jaxen McNeil and Chris Hayek volunteered to prepare food for Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota’s Thanksgiving dinner Thursday in Iowa Central. More than 800 take-out meals were packaged and delivered to homebound residents in the area.

“This partnership has grown from its first year of 350 meals to over 2,000 meals this year” said Casey Johnson. “Without Iowa Central, it would be nearly impossible for us to do that.”

Preparation for Thursday’s dinner began weeks before needed food supplies were ordered. They also removed the bones of 75 turkeys to be cooked and served for two days, and cleaned and chopped vegetables for several days.

“There was a lot of work,” said Harrison Tille, a Humboldt culinary student.

Tille said it took four and a half hours to cut 300 pounds of green beans.

To prepare 400 kilos of potatoes, the students held a potato peeling contest on Wednesday. Fonda student Jael Coon was victorious, peeling 50 pounds of potatoes in one hour and 12 minutes.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert

Iowa Central culinary students Harrison Tille of Humboldt and Maria Mohr of Sac City boiled Brussels sprouts and green beans in preparation for Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota’s Thursday Thanksgiving dinner.

“It’s a really good way to learn how catering works like large-scale catering.” said Koon.

There are many community members who wouldn’t be able to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner if it weren’t for the hours students spend preparing and cooking Thursday’s meal.

“We want to help people in need” Tille said.

In addition to the more than 800 meals delivered, nearly 1,200 community members were served at the Fort Dodge Ford dealer showroom on Thursday.

“Cooking and making people enjoy the food you make is really satisfying.” said Koon.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert

Jael Coon, an Iowa Central culinary student from Fonda, pours seasoned green beans onto a serving platter for the community Thanksgiving dinner at Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota on Thursday.

According to Fort Dodge Ford employees Barb Michaels and Nancy Lombard, who organized the volunteers, there were 17 teams in the area that distributed more than 800 Thanksgiving dinners to homeless residents.

Michaels said he thinks the number of volunteers who help with this meal each year demonstrates the kindness and generosity of the Fort Dodge community.

“I think it shows how engaged we are and how giving people are.” said. “They’ll take a few hours out of Thanksgiving to help other people and make the day a good one for them.”


Casey Johnson said she never had to ask for volunteers for Thanksgiving dinner—dozens of volunteers call every year to see how they can help. He estimated there were around 200 volunteers helping out Thursday.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert

Jorge Orozco, Iowa Central culinary student of Eagle Grove, puts gravy on mashed potatoes for a guest at the Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota’s Thanksgiving dinner Thursday.

in numbers

75 turkeys

300 pounds

Brussels sprouts

300 kilos of green beans

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert

Iowa Central student-athletes and community members have prepared more than 800 Thanksgiving dinners for the area’s household.

400 kilos of potatoes

200 kilos of corn

100 pounds bacon

50 kilos of mushrooms

150 pounds

cranberry sauce

55 gallons of turkey broth

140 pies

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert

Jack Mendoza, an Iowa Central culinary student of Eagle Grove, threw in some Brussels sprouts with condiments for Thursday’s Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota’s Thanksgiving dinner.

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