The lunch hour at Lucy’s Big Burger in Abilene is usually a rush but it will be even crazier on Thanksgiving Day.
About 100 volunteers will join Lucy’s owners Robert and Amy Graven to serve a traditional Thanksgiving meal between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Based on the crowds of past years, the Gravens are expecting to feed about 600 folks.
“We have more desserts usually than we know what to do with,” Robert Graven said. “We want to be able to just feed them until they pop, until they can’t hold it anymore.”
The meal is free of charge for anyone and there won’t be an assembly line, people will be served just like a typical day in the restaurant. Robert said a mix of people show up from couples that have no family visiting to Dyess Airmen and students who can’t make it home and also families without the means to afford a good meal.
“I had no idea just how many people there are that either don’t have a place to go or can’t afford something nice to fix for their family,” Robert Graven said. “It’s overwhelming to see just how much need there is and we like to do it,that’s why we do it.”
Robert delegates a group of volunteers to smoke and fry turkeys while Amy makes the dressing and stays on top of desserts.
“It’s a blast for all of us, we’re exhausted but it’s so well worth it,” Robert Graven said.
Amy never worries about the cost because so many of their regular customers step up with donations.
“This is still a community outreach dinner from not just Abilene residents but I have residents from Haskell that come in and give monetary donations,” Amy Graven said. “We’re very blessed from our customers as well.”
Amy is the youngest of nine children. When it comes to holidays, it’s the more the merrier for her.
“Oh my gosh there was so many of us, as far as the crowd, it’s nothing new to me,” Amy Graven said.
Amy remembers her brothers bringing friends home on Thanksgiving and her mother always taking care of unexpected guests.
“My mom never turned anybody away she fed them just like if it was one of her own children,” Amy Graven said. “So I grew up watching my mom demonstrate the love of Jesus to other people.”
Amy said feeding people has always been a desire of her heart and now she can follow her mother’s example of loving people through hospitality.