The Family Kitchen in Bend expected to serve about 200 free meals for Thanksgiving to anyone who comes in. The Family Kitchen dining hall on Idaho Avenue in downtown Bend serves 8 meals a week, but on Thursday they made the extra effort to serve up a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
Former Sunriver firefighter Steve Nase volunteers as a cook at the Family Kitchen because he likes to give back. He says he enjoys seeing people from all walks of life who come in for the free food.
“Elderly who just need an extra hot meal, to young families and then there’s some groups of kids,” Nase said. “It depends on different times of year. Ninety-nine percent of them are awesome people.”
The Family Kitchen serves nearly 60,000 meals annually. It receives support from local churches and sizable donations from individuals.
SOT Donna Burklo, Family Kitchen Program Director
“We really do encourage not only our regular diners to come but also people from the community so it’s not so much an ‘us and them’ thing,” said Donna Burklo, director of the Family Kitchen Program. “It’s really a mix of everybody. I see that happening when we are all here. The volunteers will sit and eat with folks too, and really kind of blurs all the categories. What a perfect day to do that on Thanksgiving.”
A small staff and an army of volunteers help the Family Kitchen serve 60,000 meals a year. Family Kitchen is open 7 days a week and is always looking for donations and volunteers.