Chili's, Fry's team up to feed the troops

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SIERRA VISTA — At a time when many people around the country are planning to visit family for Thanksgiving, many of America’s soldiers are duty bound to stand vigilant in defense of the freedoms we all enjoy.

And though many local soldiers didn’t get the chance to go home for the start of the holiday season, at least a few hundred still enjoyed a home-cooked holiday meal.

Over the course of a few hours on Monday night, more than 300 soldiers packed into the local Chili’s restaurant to fill up on Thanksgiving delicacies. From turkey and ham to green beans, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie, all of the trimmings were ready and waiting as the troops pulled up for a meal many won’t forget.

“Thanksgiving might not be so great for many of our soldiers, but going out to Chili’s might be a fun thing to do and those are the things that kind of stick with them. They remember that,” said Jody Robbins, lead organizer of the event and a manager at Chili’s.

“We have been cooking for a few days,” Robbins said, adding that 24 turkeys, 600 dinner rolls, three cases of cranberries, four cases of green beans, and about 60 pumpkin pies were needed to feed all the troops.

“And all of the food is donated by Fry’s, which is awesome,” Robbins said.

“We donated over 300 pounds of turkey and 60 pounds of ham,” said Deborah Baker, assistant store manager at the local Fry’s.

Fry’s also sent a number of volunteers to help out the dozens of Chili’s employees tasked with cooking and serving the soldiers.

“We want the soldiers to feel that, when they come to Sierra Vista, even if just for school, they have a place to go. They are fighting for us, and we are free because of them. We want them to know the community here appreciates what they do,” Baker said.

“I always hold my breath to make sure everything comes together, but once it does I feel pretty good about it. Every year, it has just been awesome,” Robbins said.


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