Federal hiring freeze impacts Thanksgiving banquet

In the 15th year of the Thanksgiving banquet, a federal hiring freeze has left the team without the leader they've had in the past

BOISE - The Great Thanksgiving Banquet has become a Thanksgiving tradition in the Treasure Valley. Maybe you’ve donated your time serving meals to some 3,000 hungry and homeless people in our community, or maybe you yourself have received a hot meal.

It’s a remarkable event that had to go with plan B this year.

Since the Boise Rescue Mission’s first Great Thanksgiving Banquet, the Centennial Job Corps Center has been there to help.

“Jack would work with his culinary arts students and that would be their primary focus, is to work in their culinary arts kitchen to prepare all of those meals,” Michael Delaney with the Centennial Job Corp Center said.

Cooking and slicing thousands of pounds of turkey for the two-day November event with banquets in Boise and Nampa.

“It's about a month-long process to prepare all of those meals,” Delaney said.

It’s a process that won’t happen this year. In September, the culinary arts program instructor, Jack D’Orazio, retired and because the Job Corps is federally funded, the center is on a federal hiring freeze mandated by the president.

“What we are allowed to hire is safety and security positions, but this doesn't fall under that category,” Delaney said.

Meaning there is no instructor for the class, and, therefore, no help for this year’s November banquet.

“There was an 'oh my goodness moment' believe me,” Rev. Bill Roscoe with the Boise Rescue Mission said.

Rev. Roscoe says thankfully because the mission was given some notice about the freeze from the Job Corps Center, they were able to continue their holiday tradition.

“The good news is though is that Even Stevens came to town and Even Stevens has agreed to provide the turkey for our two meal services. They're going to have it ready to go and we're going to pick it up and serve it,” Rev. Roscoe said.

The culinary arts program is currently in a holding pattern until the federal hiring freeze is lifted and they can hire an instructor.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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