O’Fallon restaurant owner makes final thanksgiving preps to feed 7,000 needy families

O’FALLON, MO - In case you think you’ve got a big Thanksgiving meal to cook up on Thursday, imagine doing that for 7,000 people.

Scott Ellinger of The Brass Rail has been cooking up the hot holiday meal for the past five years.

He said that the tradition started with feeding about 90 people, but come Thursday he’ll be providing meal to nearly 7,000 needy families.

“We’ve got 2,050 pounds of turkey, 1,500 pounds of ham, almost 2,000 pounds of macaroni and cheese, 3,000 pounds of mash potatoes, we’ve got corn and green beans, stuffing and cranberry sauce,” explained Ellinger, “and to watch it grow like this in the last five years is just unbelievable.”

“It’s children in shelters, it’s women in shelters,” he continued. “It’s churches that are trying to find people that are living in tents under overpasses, that’s who we’re feeding.”

Flying himself from Ohio, Ellinger’s childhood friend Gary Harkin added himself to the mix.

“Giving back, you’re always going to get a little bit of a return on the investment,” said Harkin, who was volunteering at the location for the first time. “The more you give the more you’re gonna get in return.”

Other than enjoying a day off from school, 10-year-old Aubrey Ellinger and her friends had been keeping busy with making sure no family goes hungry.

“I’m glad I’m helping them,” she said, “I think it’s a good thing to do for these people.”

Ellinger said that he is expecting about 600 to 1000 volunteers to help distribute the free meals.

Food deliveries will begin at 8:30 am and the restaurant opens at 10:30 am, so if you’re hungry, the establishment will remain open for a majority of the day.