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Omaha Works Volunteers Continuing the
Omaha Works Holiday TurkeyFest Tradition

Omaha Works Holiday TurkeyFest 2017

Volunteers spent Thanksgiving morning cooking up a holiday feast at the Salvation Army Kroc Center. It's enough food to feed at least 1,200 people.

"We start about six months out and do a meeting from the year before. And then we start planning the numbers," Kevin Newlin said.

Newlin is a volunteer chef who overseas the operation. He's been helping with TurkeyFest for eight years. He makes sure the meals are prepared perfectly for the seniors and shut-ins who receive them.

"That's what drives me. I've never gone hungry, and people go hungry all the time. It's just important that we feed people," Newlin said.

The Salvation Army has been feeding people through TurkeyFest for 26 years. Douglas Thoms has been a volunteer for all but one of them.

"I enjoy helping people that are less fortunate than me. I enjoy making sure that they have dinner," Thoms said.

When he first started volunteering, he brought his children to help. Now he brings his grandchildren, like Victor, who is helping out for the fifth year.

"I just want to be as caring as my grandpa is," he said.

They're kids who cook, but also get a lesson in kindness, something that isn't hard to come by in the Kroc Center kitchen.

The Salvation Army estimates at least a few hundred volunteers help with TurkeyFest, including everything from planning to cooking and delivering the meals. Most of the food is donated or sold at cost.