The Boise Rescue Mission has to deploy a Plan B for the Great Thanksgiving Banquet 2017. The BRM annual free holiday meal that feeds more than 3,000 men, women and children is in jeopardy, because for the first time in 19 years, the culinary program at the Centennial Job Corps Center in Nampa will not prepare the holiday feast served at the BRM Boise and Nampa locations.
For the past two decades, the federally-funded Job Corps program would cook 300 turkeys; thousands of pounds of green beans, stuffing and mashed potatoes; and 80 gallons of gravy. This year, however, Chef Jack D'Orazio, the manager of the Job Corps culinary program, surprised his colleagues when he announced he was retiring. As a result, the training program has been put on hold until a replacement for Chef D'Orazio can be found. Therein lies the problem: Due to a federal hiring freeze mandated by President Donald Trump, the program can't hire a new instructor.
"We're really sad we can't help out [with the Thanksgiving Banquet] this year," said Centennial Job Corps Admissions Officer Jeanne Gatlin, though she said she's confident that once a an instructor is hired, the program will resume preparing Thanksgiving dinners for the BRM in the future.
Meanwhile, officials at BRM say they're still planning on serving their annual holiday banquet.
"We'll pull it off one way or another," said Boise Rescue Mission CEO Rev. Bill Roscoe. "We get a lot of fresh produce donated to us this time of year—especially potatoes, onions and apples." He added that through the month of November, the BRM will partner with Walmart and radio station KTSY to raise money for turkeys. "Our volunteers will start preparing food in a couple of weeks. We've cooked turkeys before. We can do it again."