KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Forty 14-pound turkeys, dozens of side dishes, 80-plus volunteers, three lunch seatings plus free cell phone usage to call family – these are the numbers and amenities that will be offered to guests at the 35th annual Thanksgiving celebration lunch on Thursday at Knox Area Rescue Ministries (KARM). Officials say guests who are experiencing homelessness and can attend one of the lunch seatings will be welcomed with service and warmth.

“That’s why, on Thanksgiving, we want our guests and those living on the streets to know a delicious lunch is being prepared especially for them,” Burt Rosen, KARM’s CEO, said. “We pull out all the stops to make this meal special—delicious food, decorations, service with a smile and warm conversations.”

More than 300 men and women are expected to attend, KARM said Wednesday, and the lunch seatings will occur at three different times – at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Cleaning and staging by staff and volunteers will occur between each seating time.

KARM’s Abundant Kitchen is preparing 40 14-pound turkeys while Rothchild Catering will provide ham, dressing, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, tea and coffee. U.S. Cellular is providing free cell phone usage so that guests can call family members on the holiday. More than 80 KARM volunteers will prepare desserts, greet and serve our guests, and set up and tear down the special seating.

“Time and again, guests tell us, ‘It all started with a meal’.” Rosen explains that when a person no longer has to worry where their next meal is coming from, hope can be rekindled and lives can be restored. “And that’s our goal for this Thanksgiving celebration—that men and women who walk through our doors will see that KARM is here to help them take the steps they need to break the cycle of homelessness and to live a fully restored life.”