MODESTO -- "It went like clockwork," Costa said Thursday after another successful Thanks-For-Giving event in collaboration with The Salvation Army at Modesto Centre Plaza.
The cooking began Wednesday night with the preparation of 25 30-pound turkeys. Add 300 pounds each of mashed potatoes and yams, 100 pounds of stuffing, 30 gallons each of green beans and corn, 20 gallons of gravy, six gallons of cranberry sauce, 60 large pumpkin pies and
it's a meal made for 1,000 "guests," as Costa respectfully refers to those in attendance.
"We actually had a lot more families than I've seen in the past, which is kind of heartwarming," he said.
In addition to the food, The Salvation Army provided phones for people to call family and friends, face painting and games for children, and courtesy family photos. Modesto Area Express provided free bus rides, as did Modesto Area Dial-A-Ride.
Community members also contributed $30,000 to help pay for the event, which the Costa Family Foundation matched.
"It was a great day," said Costa.
Across Stanislaus County, there were thousands of other meals served Thursday by community groups, churches and nonprofits.
The Spirit of Oakdale expected as many as 1,500 people to enjoy lunch with all the trimmings at the Gene Bianchi Community Center. In Turlock, the Gospel Mission and Connecting Point Church of the Nazarene welcomed hundreds for dinner, as did Enclave Community Church across town.
And the Turlock-based United Samaritans Foundation served an estimated 1,400 holiday meals from its lunch trucks at dozens of parks and other sites in Modesto, Turlock, Ceres and other locations in the county.