Olive Garden to cater Thanksgiving meal at Springfield soup kitchen

The staff from Olive Garden serves up an Italian Thanksgiving feast at the Springfield Soup Kitchen Thursday. Bill Lackey/Staff

A Springfield soup kitchen will keep an annual tradition alive this holiday with help from Olive Garden employees and their families.

Staff from the restaurant will cater and serve an Italian Thanksgiving dinner from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at the Springfield Soup Kitchen, 830 W. Main St. in Springfield.

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This will be the sixth year the local restaurant chain at 1630 N. Bechtle Ave. will cater the meal, said Fred Stegner, who operates the Springfield Soup Kitchen. In past years, the event has provided a holiday meal for between 200 to 300 people, he said.

“It encourages people that there’s always hope and there are good people out there,” Stegner said.

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Along with the dinner, he said Italian music will be playing in the background for entertainment. The dinner includes trays of lasagna, bread sticks and salad catered and served by the Bechtle Avenue restaurant’s employees and their families.

“We’ll have a nice Italian atmosphere and we’ll toast with a deep, dark glass of grape juice,” Stegner said.

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The meal might not sound traditional, but Stegner said it sets the soup kitchen apart from similar events hosted locally.

The soup kitchen will also hosts its own, more traditional Thanksgiving dinner from 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday. He said Family Video, 2140 E. Main St., donated 10 turkeys, a ham and side dishes for that event.