Salvation Army chef prepares for annual Christmas dinner

Salvation Army chef prepares for annual Christmas dinner

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"I came through the Salvation Army when I first came to Knoxville and this is kind of my way to give back for the stuff I've done in my life," said chef Thomas Orth. "I came through the Salvation Army when I first came to Knoxville and this is kind of my way to give back for the stuff I've done in my life," said chef Thomas Orth.

By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Thomas Orth hasn't spent his last week checking off his Christmas shopping list. He's been in the kitchen checking off his to do list.

"It's been 14 hours a day for the last six days," said Orth.

It's all in preparation for the Salvation Army's annual Christmas dinner where Orth anticipates feeding anywhere between 600 and 1,200 people.

"I will have cooked 120 turkeys by the time I'm done," said Orth. "Sixty hams. All the fixings to go along with it. Sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, homemade gravy, cabbage casserole, dinner rolls and homemade pies."

Orth has been the chef for the annual dinner for the last six years and says he looks forward to it every year.

"It's the feeling I get when I'm all done," said Orth. "I see all the smiling faces and all the thank you's and God bless you's that I get."

But Orth says his connection to this meal goes much deeper than that.

"I came through the Salvation Army when I first came to Knoxville and this is kind of my way to give back for the stuff I've done in my life," said Orth.

As Orth prepares to add another year to the tally, he says he has no intention of changing his Christmas plans in the years to come.

"This is where I am. This is where I need to be."

Twenty-four other volunteers will join Orth Christmas day to help serve the meal.

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