Lizzy’s Kitchen prepared enough food to feed up to 1,000 people for free on Thursday to celebrate Thanksgiving Day, an event that has become a Tri-state tradition.

Anyone who showed up could eat a thoughtfully prepared holiday meal for free. All that was required was an appetite and willingness to be around others.

“We’re happy to do it,” said Miriam Fernandez, manager of Lizzy’s. “We don’t want people to spend the holidays alone.”

Most of the people who came to eat smiled and wished everyone they saw a “Happy Thanksgiving” even before they made their way inside. 

The restaurant and Caring Hearts Food Ministry partnered to serve people in the restaurant or provide them with meals to take out. Meals on Wheels also delivered Thanksgiving packages to area seniors who couldn’t come to Lizzy’s. 

“It’s become an annual tradition,” said Betty Rae, Caring Hearts’ procurement and distribution supervisor, who was among the many people serving the meal on Thursday.

The Legacy Foundation and The River Fund cosponsored the meal and helped pay for the food.

Beverages were brought out first. Then came the first course: a choice of a green salad or turkey chowder.

There were about three dozen turkeys prepared as well as dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, carrots and corn, rolls and cranberry sauce. The final course was either a piece of fruit-topped cake or a slice of pumpkin pie.

The meal was prepared without a lot of processed items, Rae said. 

“We want to provide the most nutritious food we can,” Rae said.

Though Lizzy’s planned to open at 10 a.m. they decided to start the meal service closer to 9:30 when they saw that a short line had formed outside the entrance. 

Craig Spencer, who also goes by the nickname Shorty, greeted everyone as they entered Lizzy’s and often opened the door as they arrived or left.

“I love being around people,” said Spencer.

He said his favorite part of a holiday meal is turkey and dressing.

“These are very good people and they serve very good food,” said Carl Montoya, the first in his group to arrive at Lizzy’s in the morning. “It’s very generous of these folks to do this.” 

Montoya used to come for the Thanksgiving meal at Lizzy’s with his wife, who died in 2014, he said. Now he comes to be with friends and because he’s not highly skilled in the kitchen. Soon, his friends began arriving and the group made their way inside.

Beverly and Ron Reeves also were among those who attended the Thanksgiving meal at Lizzy’s in the past. Five years ago they were homeless. 

People who work to cook and present this community meal “were a good help when we really needed it,” Beverly said.

The couple eventually was able to move into a residence though finances became tight again this year. She and others who worked for Bullhead City Taxi ended up jobless. She said she was hired recently at Walmart, however.

“I’m feeling very thankful,” Beverly said.

Don and Shirley Carrick, who described themselves as “snowbirds from Wisconsin,” said it was a repeat visit for the Thanksgiving meal. 

“It’s just the two of us and I didn’t want to make a full turkey,” Shirley said. “And we like being with other people at Thanksgiving.”

Another diner leaving the restaurant said the meal deserved an A-plus.

“Everything was delicious,” said Barbara Kekos.

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