DENVER -- Many employees will be forced to miss Thanksgiving dinner this year, as more and more retailers elect to stay open for the holiday. Now one Denver church is determined to give them a taste of what they will be missing.
The House for all Sinners and Saints Lutheran Church is organizing volunteers for Operation Turkey Sandwich, with the mission of feeding people who are stuck working.
"This will be complete chaos tomorrow," said Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber, pointing to the empty space inside St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Denver, where Operation Turkey Sandwich will take place. "We'll probably have about 50 turkeys that will be stripped down."
The volunteers plan to make more than a thousand sandwiches, stuffing muffins and pumpkin cookies, in order to give people a taste of Thanksgiving. Bolz-Weber says the reward can be seen on the employees’ faces.
"The best was this one really lonely guy at the adult bookstore on Colfax," Bolz-Weber said. "He kind of teared up last year. He goes, 'Wait, your church brought me Thanksgiving lunch here?' We're like, 'Yeah, it sucks you have to work, so sorry.'"
Firefighters and other public servants who have to work on Thanksgiving were among the first recipients of Operation Turkey Sandwich, when it kicked off five years ago, but now that so many retailers are also open on Thanksgiving, the Operation Turkey Sandwich mission has grown exponentially.
"Retail doesn't have to be open on Thanksgiving," Bolz-"Weber said. "That's greed and now American workers are affected by that. They don't get to be home with their families."
Though some retail employees welcome the extra hours, others have expressed frustration.
"Black Friday should stay in Friday," said Barbara Gertz, who works at Walmart. "Thanksgiving is a family holiday and Walmart workers should be allowed to spend the holiday with their families."
"We're definitely hitting Walmart this year," Bolz-Weber said.
Nadia says outrage over all the stores opening has led to more volunteers than ever, but she says they still welcome volunteers and suggestions for deliveries Thanksgiving morning.
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