October 7, 2016 2:18 pm

Thanksgiving a busy time at the Saskatoon Friendship Inn

WATCH ABOVE: The Saskatoon Friendship Inn is preparing for Thanksgiving dinner and is always looking for donations to help serve 1,000 meals daily.

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Thanksgiving is one of the busiest weekends of the year at Saskatoon's Friendship Inn. But the reality is that the need is high every day of the week.

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest weekends of the year at the Saskatoon Friendship Inn.

Executive director Sandra Stack told Global News the chef is preparing a traditional style meal.

“She’s preparing 200 pounds of potatoes,” Stack said.

“We have 60 turkeys thawing, we have hundreds of pounds of carrots, and a soup pot big enough to sit in for gravy.”

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They expect some 1,300 people for the annual meal, many who will be in family groups.

“That’s what we specialize in, is families coming together at thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter,” Stack said.

Staff and volunteers work hard to make sure it’s a good quality meal.

“We always say if it’s not good for us it’s not good for anyone,” Stack said.

“We eat first, we test the food, we serve it with dignity, it’s a place of family, it’s a place where you can come and be accepted and treated with respect and dignity … everyone is a person at the Friendship Inn.”

While the holiday is a special time, she said, the numbers of people needing a meal are high every day of the week.

“Our need has no season,” she said. “We serve 1,000 meals a day at the Friendship Inn.”

And many of them are children.

“There’s more and more children – more and more children are living in poverty in Saskatchewan and in Saskatoon,” she said.

“It’s now one in three children are living in poverty, and so children come in for their breakfast before school, and they take their bagged lunch to school and so they are actually going to school with their own lunch.”

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The ever present need also means the Friendship Inn always needs donations, and volunteers.

They take donations of food or clothing daily, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Clothing, mostly for men and children, is especially needed.

And volunteers are need as well.

“Last year we had 3,500 volunteers at the Friendship Inn, and every day we need volunteers, up to 20 volunteers a day,” Stack said, adding she began her work at the Inn as a volunteer herself and was so moved by what she saw that she ended up working there.

She says volunteering can be a great experience.

“We love having children and families volunteer,” she said.

“Children bring life to the Friendship Inn, and families bring joy. So anytime you’d like to come with your family and volunteer on a Saturday or Sunday, it’s a wonderful experience.”

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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