GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- Cooking up a Thanksgiving meal with all the fixings can be a cooking nightmare, but one local group hopes to lessen the load this holiday season.
"Thanksgiving is nationally the number one day for cooking fires,” said Ellis Thompson-Ellis, Grand Junction Fire Department.
In fact, there were a reported 1,500 of them in 2016 according to the National Fire Protection Association.
"Don't leave your home and leave your oven on, please. You also want to maintain a safe zone around your oven at least three feet where there is no kids, no pets and no flammable material next to your stove or whatever you’re using to cook your holiday meal,” said Thompson-Ellis.
They say to keep the floor clean, so you don’t trip, be sure electrical cords are not dangling, and check that smoke alarms are working.
"You know what it's like preparing for your family, try preparing for a couple thousand,” said Captain Steve Staneart with the Salvation Army.
It’s been a busy week at the Colorado Mesa University kitchen as they are trying to prepare more than 120 turkeys for Thanksgiving Day.
"We will do probably 2,000 pounds of turkey dressing and about 90-120 gallons of gravy,” said Daniel Widhammer, Executive Chef at CMU’s Sodexo kitchen.
For the past 18 years the Salvation Army and Sodexo team up to cook food for more than 2,000 people.
"People have very difficult lives we all as a community get to help them make at least just one day better,” said Captain Staneart.
CMU's basketball team helped by carving all the turkeys Monday afternoon.
"I think it's so important to help others. I think that if we lose perspective of the whole world and each other in our community that we can get so focused on ourselves that we forget the blessings in everyday, and that's important to our team. And that's why we love coming out and helping out our community,” said Tori Catlett, basketball player at CMU.
When it’s all ready, they send it over to the Elks Lodge, where more than 800 people will come for a meal. 1,200 meals will be sent to families homes.
"Not just in the cooking of the turkeys and the serving of the turkeys and the cleaning up after Thanksgiving but also in the logistics of getting the stuff that we need,” said Captain Staneart.
If you want to donate food, the Salvation Army says they still need more turkeys. You can donate them at their location on 1155 N 4th Street, Grand Junction or call them at (970) 257-1984.
Their dinner will be at the Elks Lodge on 249 S 4th Street, Grand Junction.