Salvation Army preparing Thanksgiving meals from scratch for thousands of needy families

It's a Thanksgiving tradition. Each year, a few days before the holiday, a small army of volunteers assembles in the big Levy restaurant kitchen at Guaranteed Rate Field to begin their preparations.

When you're feeding 2,500 people, you need to get an early start.

Under the direction of Chef Robin Rosenberg, the volunteers prepare a homemade meal that the Salvation Army will pass out to families who need one.

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By the numbers, the feast will include 900 pounds of turkey, 360 pounds of potatoes, 280 pounds of green beans and 150 pounds of cranberries.

Chef Rosenberg has been leading the troops for 25 years.

"I love doing it. It's such a great feeling to see the smiles on their faces when they're getting this great meal. It's all cooked from scratch - all homemade. We have a great group of volunteers who do everything," said Rosenberg.

The dinner is put together by the charitable organization "Levy Cares" and delivered to The Salvation Army.

They take over when it comes time to serve the hot meals at Chicago's Freedom center where this year, the meals will be handed out curbside and also distributed in mobile vehicles on Thanksgiving Day.

Because of the pandemic, the traditional sit down dinner is on hold this year, but not for long.

"So we're prepping everything this year and delivering it to the Salvation Army and they're going to serve it this year," said Rosenberg, who is already making big plans for next year.

"But next year we're going to be full blast. I'm excited about it. I can't wait to get back to normal," Rosenberg said.

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"For 25 years, we have fed the homeless community of Chicago and just anybody who, just anyone who needs a great meal on Thanksgiving," said Rosenberg.

As for Chef Rosenberg, because the food is being dropped off early this year, he will have the first Thanksgiving with his family in 25 years. No he's not cooking, or so he says.