November 14, 2016 // Franchising.com // ORLANDO, FL – Golden Corral, with the generous support of several Orlando-area businesses, will once again serve free meals to the public on Thanksgiving Day for the 24th consecutive year as part of the annual “Helpings from the Heart” program. The event is expected to serve more than 20,000 meals to deserving residents in Central Florida on Thanksgiving Day.
The event will take place beginning at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 24, in the Salvation Army gymnasium located at 440 W. Colonial Dr., Orlando, FL. The dinner is a collaborative effort between Eric Holm, owner and president of Metro Corral Partners, and several area business partners and community groups.
Holm founded “Helpings from the Heart” in 1992 as a way to give back to the community and thank The Salvation Army, which provided a Thanksgiving meal to the Holm family when he was a child. Holm experienced the need for help first-hand. He grew up in a single-parent family and worked to help support his mother as a busboy in a restaurant where she was a waitress. This annual event now gives Holm the opportunity to help others who may not be able to afford a full Thanksgiving meal.
“Our annual Helpings from the Heart event is a wonderful opportunity to help serve others in our community,” said Holm. “I am personally thankful to be in a position to be able to provide people in Central Florida with a Thanksgiving meal and enjoy the holiday much in the same way my family did when I grew up.”
The dinner is a joint venture between Holm and area nonprofit organizations, corporations and local businesses, including The Salvation Army, Cheney Brothers, Pepsi, MBM, Harvill’s, Bubbalou’s, Puff n Stuff, Universal and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, which provides protection for all guests and volunteers. More than 1,100 Salvation Army volunteers will arrive throughout the day to assist with serving the meal this year.
“The Helpings from the Heart event takes a lot of preparation, but it is something we take a lot of pride in each year,” said Jason Gronlund, Executive Chef of Helpings from the Heart. “Putting together this event is a team effort, but we are able to bring a lot of people together for a day of joy and thanks. We look forward to providing a great meal for a lot of deserving people.”
Gronlund and his staff will prepare more than 3,000 pounds of turkey and 3,000 pounds of ham along with plenty of mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, stuffing, cranberries, sweet potatoes, corn, pie, fruit and beverages. Meals are also available for carry-out or will be picked up and more than 8,000 meals will be delivered to nursing homes, shut-ins, local churches and other facilities throughout the Orlando area.
“The Salvation Army is proud to partner with Golden Corral to serve up thousands of Thanksgiving meals for people in the Orlando area,” said Major Ted Morris of The Salvation Army, Orlando Area Command. “More than 1,000 volunteers will assemble at The Salvation Army to serve good food, love and compassion to area residents and make this a true day of giving thanks.”
Those wishing to donate to The Salvation Army to fight hunger year-round are encouraged to text “Helpings” to 41444 to continue feeding the disadvantaged men, women and children in their shelters.
Eric Holm of Metro Corral Partners is a prominent businessman in the Orlando community and longtime supporter of The Salvation Army. He owns and operates 32 Golden Corral restaurants and specializes in making pleasurable dining affordable.
The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in his name without discrimination.
SOURCE Golden Corral