WORTHINGTON, Ohio (WCMH) – A Worthington restaurant’s Thanksgiving tradition is giving families a reason to be thankful this holiday.
A group of volunteers arrived at the Whitney House before 4 a.m. Thursday to help prepare dozens of turkey dinners.
“This is who I get to spend Thanksgiving with. This is what it’s all about,” said Ian Brown, owner of the Whitney House.
Brown and his family volunteer regularly with Meals on Wheels and when they opened the downtown Worthington restaurant, they decided to use their talents and resources to help people for the holiday.
“It requires a lot of logistics and requires a lot of helping hands and a lot of organization. There’s a lot more to it than just the cooking,” explained Brown.
Four years since they began the endeavor, the group has the tradition down to a science.
The Worthington school district, where Brown’s wife works and his kids attend school, provides the restaurant with a list of families who need help with a Thanksgiving meal. Some of the Whitney House food vendors, patrons and family friends donate the money and supplies necessary to prepare the meals.
Each year, the number of volunteers for the Thanksgiving tradition grows.
“It’s really cool that people want to help and they want to have this experience as well,” said Ella Brown, Ian Brown’s daughter.
Ella is among the teenagers who help with food prep each year. She’s also helped deliver the meals throughout the community.
“I think it’s very eye-opening, but yes I definitely realize there is a need,” she said. “I’m glad that my family can do something to help fill that.”
Brown said he’s continually impressed with the outpouring of support. He hopes to pass on critical lessons to his children about using their gifts to pay it forward.
“If we take time out of our day, our month, our year and devote those skills, talents and resources to something good, something that can grow, then that’s how we should live our lives,” he said.
This year, the Whitney House delivered turkeys, stuffing, potatoes and other sides to at least 30 families throughout Worthington.