The 3rd annual 1,000 Thankful Souls Community Thanksgiving Dinner organized by Celebrity Chef Ameer Natson was a roaring success. More than 2,000 thankful souls enjoyed a Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings inside the NAN-Tech World gymnasium in Newark, NJ on Thanksgiving Day.
“We made over 100 pans of macaroni and cheese, 90 pans of cabbage and collard greens, we roasted 79 turkeys, we cut up almost 400 pounds of potatoes for potato salad, we made 90 pounds of cranberries for cranberry sauce; it was really huge this year,” said Natson.
At least 600 volunteers helped prepare all the food over the course of two days. In addition to turkey and a variety of sides, attendees were treated to cheesecake, strawberry shortcake, sweet potato pie and more for dessert.
“It’s almost like Thanksgiving at grandma’s house to the 1,000th power,” said Natson. “There was so much gratitude in the room and just such a great atmosphere.”
Natson always has a few of his famous friends stop by and help at the event. Among the attendees this year were former New York Giants wide receiver, Victor Cruz, and comedian Mr. Commodore.
Natson was inspired to create 1,000 Thankful Souls after some of his famous clients asked him to cook their Thanksgiving dinner a few years ago. He says he “thought about all of the people…where that’s not their reality,” and instead invited some of his clients to come eat with him and those who were in need that season.
“It kicked off huge. The first year we did it within eight days. We planned, prepared and were able to feed 1000+ people a gourmet, chef-prepared thanksgiving dinner,” said Natson.
After that initial event, Natson was overwhelmed by the amount of people who already wanted to sign up to volunteer for the next year. For Natson, 1000 Thankful Souls isn’t just about food, it’s about bringing the people of Newark together. Attendees ranged from people experiencing homelessness to families who have found themselves in a rough spot this holiday season.
“A lot of times people give away turkeys and they give away sides, but if a person doesn’t have a functioning oven or if a person doesn’t know how to cook for that matter, then it doesn’t really do them any justice. To create this environment where people can come together… and eat together and fellowship with one another and there wasn’t any negativity. It was all positive. It’s important for me to do this because it creates community,” said Natson.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ADRIANA DESIDERIO IS THE DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER AT CAMBRO.
Categories: Great Stories