Lizzy’s Kitchen, Caring Hearts team up to feed 560
By BILL McMILLEN/The Daily News Nov 25, 2011
BULLHEAD CITY — As diners finished their Thanksgiving meal, three young girls circulated from table to table, offering mints from woven baskets, almost in competition with one another to get patrons to take one and drawing smiles from everyone watching their efforts.
It was a fitting end to a holiday meal served Thursday at Lizzy’s Kitchen in Bullhead City, where staff teamed with the Caring Hearts Food program and nearly four dozen volunteers to serve more than 560 meals to the homeless, the needy, the lonely and anyone else who wandered through the doors of the restaurant on Highway 95.
“It’s been steady,” said Caring Hearts administrator Marcy Burke during an early afternoon lull. “We’ve had our rush periods, but nobody’s had to wait very long. It’s been pretty smooth.”
In the kitchen, Lizzy’s owner Rosa Hernandez and her family and employees were joined by volunteers to form an assembly line preparing the food while another group of restaurant employees and volunteers served it, cleaned tables, greeted visitors and provided deliveries and pick-up service for those who didn’t have transportation.
“They washed dishes … kitchen help … deliveries and pickups … a little of everything,” Burke said of the volunteers, some of whom showed up unannounced to help on Thursday. “We had awesome volunteers.”
And some awesome contributors, too. Burke was able to distribute some gift certificates from Perkins Restaurant & Bakery in Bullhead City to provide Christmas meals. The Legacy BHHS Foundation, which helped underwrite Thursday’s Thanksgiving dinner, also provided certificates for children’s socks and underwear for need families. And one donor showed up with a truck load of more than 1,000 coats and sweaters to be distributed locally.
As the day wore on — the plan was to serve dinners for four hours after overnight preparation — Burke began to relax.
“It was a little more overwhelming than I expected,” she said, “but I enjoyed it. When it’s your event, you always worry about things — whether you’ve got enough food, whether people are having to wait too long, whether you’ve got enough help …. Everything worked out well.”
For the staff at Lizzy’s, it wasn’t the first Thanksgiving dinner. The restaurant, known more for its Mexican food than for turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, has been doing a community outreach dinner for each of the last four Thanksgivings.
“I think they’ve kind of learned from past experience,” Burke said, drawing a nod from nearby employees and repeat volunteers. “They have everything down.”
Burke noted that several of Thursday’s diners left contributions for Caring Hearts, which will be used to continue the nonprofit organization’s food distribution program. She said she was very appreciative, noting that the need — both locally and nationally — continues to grow rapidly.
“Last year, 37 million people (in the United States) sought food help,” she said. “This year, I’m guessing that number is going to be 40 million if not more. Times are tough and people need help.
“This is a very compassionate community,” she added. “We have a lot of people who come through whenever we need it — and we always need it.”