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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

“Helpings from the Heart” to Serve More Than 20,000 Meals at 25th Annual Thanksgiving Feast in Orlando

Golden Corral Will Host Event at Salvation Army on Thanksgiving Day

Press Release – ORLANDO, FL (Nov, 2017) – For the 25th consecutive year, Golden Corral, along with the generous support of several Orlando-area businesses, will once again serve free meals to the public on Thanksgiving Day as part of the annual “Helpings from the Heart” program. The event is expected to serve more than 20,000 meals to deserving residents in Central Florida on Thanksgiving Day.

The event will take place beginning at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 23, in the Salvation Army gymnasium located at 440 W. Colonial Dr., Orlando, FL. The dinner is a collaborative effort between Eric Holm, owner and president of Metro Corral Partners, and several area business partners and community groups.

Giving Back

Holm founded “Helpings from the Heart” in 1992 as a way to give back to the community and thank The Salvation Army, which provided a Thanksgiving meal to the Holm family when he was a child. Holm experienced the need for help first-hand. He grew up in a single-parent family and worked to help support his mother as a busboy in a restaurant where she was a waitress. This annual event now gives Holm the opportunity to help others who may not be able to afford a full Thanksgiving meal.

“This year’s Helpings from the Heart event takes special significance in that it is the 25th straight year we have had the privilege to organize it,” said Holm. “It started off years ago as an opportunity to share the holiday with others and give people a good meal on Thanksgiving. Although the event has grown considerably over the years, the purpose remains the same and we look forward to spending time with everyone that comes out that day.”

The dinner is a joint venture between Holm and area nonprofit organizations, corporations and local businesses, including The Salvation Army, Cheney Brothers, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, McLane, Ardent, Mills, Harvill’s, Bubbalou’s, Puff n Stuff, Universal and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, which provides protection for all guests and volunteers. More than 1,100 Salvation Army volunteers will arrive throughout the day to assist with serving the meal this year.

“The Helpings from the Heart event is something we look forward to all year,” said Jason Gronlund, Executive Chef of Helpings from the Heart. “A lot of preparation goes into it, but it is a team effort that brings a lot of joy to many people. We look forward to being able to serve a great meal that day to so many deserving people in the Orlando community.”

Gronlund and his staff will prepare more than 3,000 pounds of turkey and 3,000 pounds of ham along with plenty of mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, stuffing, cranberries, sweet potatoes, corn, pie, fruit and beverages. Meals are also available for carry-out or will be picked up and more than 8,000 meals will be delivered to nursing homes, shut-ins, local churches and other facilities throughout the Orlando area.

“The Salvation Army is proud to partner with Golden Corral to serve up thousands of Thanksgiving meals for people in the Orlando area,” said Major Ted Morris of The Salvation Army, Orlando Area Command. “More than 1,000 volunteers will assemble at The Salvation Army to serve good food, love and compassion to area residents and make this a true day of giving thanks.”

Those wishing to donate to The Salvation Army to fight hunger year-round are encouraged to text “Helpings” to 41444 to continue feeding the disadvantaged men, women and children in their shelters.


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