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Less seats around the table, but tons of turkey and ham for Fort Lee’s Thanksgiving Day meal

Military students join hands to pray before the annual Thanksgiving Day meal at Fort Lee, 2014. (Fort Lee Traveler/TNS)

The people count might be smaller this Thanksgiving time around, but the menu will not be.

Fort Lee said Thursday that its annual Thanksgiving Day holiday meal will be limited to students and some essential military personnel because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Civilians and retirees will not be permitted to join

“Our priority on this installation is soldiers, and we share that in our facilities — a commitment to ensuring their health and welfare,” Richard Bennett, food program manager for Logistics Readiness Center-Lee, which hosts the annual feast, said in a statement released Thursday by the post. “They have to come first.”

Thanksgiving Day meal at Fort Lee, Va. (Fort Lee Traveler/TNS)

The meals will be served among Fort Lee’s five dining halls, which will be minimally decorated because of the pandemic. The meal schedule is also being expanded this year to allow for social-distancing protocols.

Last year: Fort Lee expected to serve 17,300 pounds of food on Thanksgiving

Less attendance, however, does not mean there will be less served.

The post said it will prepare one ton each of turkey and ham for the annual staple. Also on the menu will be 1,800 pounds of prime rib, 1,000 pounds of sweet potatoes, 500 pounds of salmon, 250 gallons of macaroni and cheese, and more than 350 different desserts.

In the past, command teams have stepped in to serve the soldiers their meals, but not this year. However, they will not be completely absent from the festivities, as ordinance leaders will sit down to break bread with the soldiers, according to Command Sgt. Maj. Ivy L. Guido of the 59th Ordinance Brigade.

“We will make up that time by dining with the troops,” Guido said in the post statement. “We want to convey we are still part of a family, and despite COVID-19, we will still give thanks as a family.”

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(c) 2020 The Progress-Index

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