Westy’s prepares to feed those in need on Thanksgiving Day

Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 10:36 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for what we have and to give back to others who may not have as much. And that’s why hard work is happening right now at Westy’s in Downtown Memphis.

The restaurant is getting ready to feed hundreds of homeless Memphians on Thanksgiving Day.

Westy’s owner, Jake Schorr, will celebrate the restaurant’s 39th anniversary next month. That is a long time to be in business. And for nearly half that time, almost two decades, Westy’s and an army of volunteers have been serving up Thanksgiving dinner to the needy and the hungry in Memphis.

Chris Pegg and his 16-year-old daughter Maybry performed some father-daughter service over self at Westy’s on Wednesday night, cutting up buckets of potatoes.

“That’s what I try to teach my girls,” said Pegg. “I’m just trying to be a good dad and show them some service, and that it’s not all about you all the time.”

“It just gives a smile on everyone’s face,” Maybry told Action News 5, “And I love being able to put a smile on other people’s faces and help any way that I possibly can.”

For 18 years now, Westy’s staff and volunteers have prepared warm, delicious Thanksgiving meals for the homeless.

“We’re prepared to feed 1,200,” said Schorr, “And then, if we have to go into our stock to keep feeding them, I will. I will not turn anybody away.”

Westy’s teams up with Lindenwood Christian Church and the Memphis BBQ Network to feed all those hungry mouths.

Chris Pegg and his daughter, Maybry, take part in cutting 300 pounds of red potatoes to be used...
Chris Pegg and his daughter, Maybry, take part in cutting 300 pounds of red potatoes to be used for feeding the homeless on Thanksgiving Day.(Action News 5)

Dallas Minner has been a part of this tradition since the very beginning. His daughter worked at Westy’s in 2004 and asked him to be a part of the inaugural Thanksgiving Day event.

All these years later, Minner is the one who makes the calls to rally the troops, recruiting all the volunteers he can find.

“We will have this restaurant almost full with volunteers from the church and the community,” said Minner, “and we will have people ages six to 82 tonight to do preparation.”

Michael Waters volunteers regularly at the Mid-South Food Bank with Dallas. When Minner mentioned Westy’s potato-cutting brigade needed help slicing up 300 pounds of spuds, Michael didn’t hesitate to say “yes.”

“It’s just something I like to do with my time,” he said. “You know, I could be sitting at home relaxing or I could go out and give back to others.”

Westy’s is cooking 500 pounds of smoked chicken legs, 400 pounds of BBQ, and all the fixings.

It’s truly a Thanksgiving meal served with a heaping portion of love.

“Whenever you can do something for somebody who can’t do it for themselves,” Pegg said, “it’s really a heart-felt thing you’re doing, and it doesn’t cost any money.”

Westy’s will serve Thanksgiving meals at the restaurant at 346 North Main from 9 a.m. to noon on Thanksgiving Day.

They’re also giving out free hats, gloves, and clothing to the homeless.

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