Students volunteer to cook turkey dinners for seniors

11/26/2014 12:09 PM |
Matthew Kollmeier of Northport (right) and Jason Thomas of Riverhead carving up some of the over 250 pounds of roasted turkey. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Matthew Kollmeier of Northport (right) and Jason Thomas of Riverhead carving up some of the over 250 pounds of roasted turkey. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Culinary arts student Jason Thomas of Riverhead is volunteering to make Thanksgiving dinners for seniors in need as part of Suffolk Community College’s Community Arts program.

“This is hospitality. It is what we do, we are chefs,” he said as he was carving up one of the roasted turkeys in the school’s kitchen early Wednesday morning. 

As for Thanksgiving Day itself, he will be cooking at home for his family and at Jedediah Hawkins Inn restaurant where he is an intern.

This is the sixth year that students in the arts program — 40 volunteers and chef instructors — are cooking up turkey dinners for around 130 long-term patients and home-bound seniors for the Dominican Sisters of Hampton Bays. The ingredients were provided by the sisters and the volunteers roasted up 17 15-pound turkeys, 120 pounds of sweet potatoes, 100 pounds of mashed potatoes, 40 pounds of green beans and 80 pounds of stuffing. And of course gravy — five gallons of it!

Student chef Devon Solomon of Central islip said that the experience makes him feel good.

“I wish I could do something like this all the time,” he said. “It is definitely a humbling experience. What if that was me in need.”

Chef instructor Vinny Winn noted that “I like the feeling that we have students who show up for this for multiple years. And then the students feel good on Thanksgiving knowing that they have done this.”

See more photos below:

Jason Thomas of Riverhead carving up the roasted turkey, which he will also do on Thanksgiving for his family. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Jason Thomas of Riverhead carving up the roasted turkey, which he will also do on Thanksgiving for his family. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Jordan Gaines of Holbrook ladles out the 120 pounds of sweet potatoes. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Jordan Gaines of Holbrook ladles out the 120 pounds of sweet potatoes. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Chef instructors Vinny Winn and Andrea Glick get in the holiday spirit with their head gear. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Chef instructors Vinny Winn and Andrea Glick get in the holiday spirit with their head gear. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Westhampton Beach High School sophomores Reilly Gwinn and Bronte Merrell volunteered in the kitchen. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Westhampton Beach High School sophomores Reilly Gwinn and Bronte Merrell volunteered in the kitchen. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Luke Seldin of Bayport and Jordana Gaines of Holbrook preparing to rice the potatoes for mashed potatoes. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Luke Seldin of Bayport and Jordana Gaines of Holbrook preparing to rice the potatoes for mashed potatoes. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

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