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thanksgiving

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A Christian organization dedicated to helping the homeless served more than 2,000 people a free Thanksgiving dinner Thursday.

The group, Mel Trotter Ministries, got more volunteers than it could use.  Volunteer coordinator Paula Seales says a week ago, she had 756 volunteers signed up to help serve the free dinner in downtown Grand Rapids.  By Thursday, it was close to 900.  She had to put some people on a waiting list and turn some people away.

“My phone was just constantly ringing," says Seales.  "'Can I volunteer? I want to be a part of this. It’s so wonderful.”

Drawing of a Thanksgiving dinner on a table at the Mel Trotter Thanksgiving dinner.
Mel Trotter Ministry

Homeless, elderly and poor people in several cities in Michigan are being given a reason to be grateful on Thanksgiving.

The Detroit Rescue Mission is serving free food to homeless people and others in need at different locations in and around the city.

While the ministry has been around for 107 years, it has been doing Thanksgiving dinners for over 20 years.

Barbara Willis, the Chief Operating Officer for the Detroit Rescue Mission, said these dinners make a big difference to the homeless in the community.

flickr user Satya Murthy / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0


The holidays can be a happy time, but gathering family members around the Thanksgiving table can also resurrect tensions and old resentments.

Blue Water Bridge
K.l.macke/Flickr

Canadian workers for the Blue Water Bridge went on strike this week.

The 45 employees, who all work on the Canadian side of the bridge, are picketing due to contract disputes.

Jocelyn Hall, a media contact with the Michigan Department of Transportation, said the strike could make holiday travel difficult.

“As a contingency plan, a staff of non-unionized employees are filling in those roles and that capacity to keep traffic flowing,” Hall said.

Hall says if there is any traffic backup, it would more than likely be on the Canadian side of the bridge.

Michael J. Carden / public domain

The Gerald R. Ford International Airport once again is working with the Patriot Guard Riders of West Michigan to welcome returning military service members and veterans on the day before Thanksgiving.

Grand Rapids airport volunteers, therapy dogs and members of the troop-supporting motorcycle organization will participate Wednesday in "Operation Handshake."

As in the past, they’ll staff both concourses throughout the day and thank active and retired soldiers and sailors for their service.

Juan Flores

Anyone who’s ever been stuck on campus for Thanksgiving knows it’s kind of depressing.

“Just seeing everybody leaving with their luggage, and you’re left behind, you know it’s going to be a long weekend,” says Denise Cruz, a senior at Michigan State University.  “And it does make you feel a bit out of place. Like you have nowhere to go.”

Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

As we draw near to the annual Thanksgiving feast, those whose menus include turkey may find themselves tempted to pay more for a bird advertised with some special buzz words.

But Detroit News Finance Editor Brian J. O’Connor tells us not to be fooled by the marketing.

According to O’Connor, there are a number of labels that ultimately don’t mean anything.

“Things like young, hormone-free and cage-free, for example, are completely meaningless,” he says.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Michigan Radio's senior news analyst, Jack Lessenberry gives an update on the debate over Syrian refugees coming to Michigan, a new initiative to clean up blighted Detroit homes and how restaurants across the state are offering a free Thanksgiving dinner to those in need. 


Many local MIchigan restaurants give back to their communities by providing free meals on Thanksgiving.
Satya Murthy / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Many family-owned businesses across the state provide free turkey meals to local patrons to help give back to their communities. Michigan Radio spoke with a few owners of these restaurants and created a map to make note of the rest. 

Maureen Abood with a copy of her cookbook, "Rose Water & Orange Blossoms"
Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network

The Thanksgiving feast is at hand.

­If you’re a guest this year, you might be wondering what you can bring to the table.

East Lansing food writer Maureen Abood has some suggestions for one of her favorite holiday meals.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Many holiday shoppers will be hunting for bargains in their pajamas.

A new report says nearly half of all holiday presents will be bought online this year.

Pat Huddleston is a Michigan State University professor who specializes in consumer behavior. She expects 56% of holiday shoppers will buy gifts online this year, buying 44% of their presents via the web.

By comparison, online shopping amounts to roughly 12% of retail sales annually.

The Parade Company / via city of Detroit

Things might be a little tighter than usual at Detroit’s annual Thanksgiving Day parade this year.

The parade will take its usual route down Woodward Avenue. But there will be several “pinch points” due to ongoing construction for the M-1 rail project.

City spokesman John Roach says that means parade-watching will be restricted in some areas.

For their United States of Thanksgiving story, the New York Times picked German potato salad as the recipe that evoked Michigan.

Priscilla Massie of Allegan contributed the recipe. She's the author of Walnut Pickles and Watermelon Cake: A Century of Michigan Cooking.

Massie felt that German potato salad was a Michigan dish, as 22% of Michiganders have German ancestry. In addition, she notes that the potato was a food staple for pioneers and is still a big crop within the state.

Massie says that the foods one chooses for Thanksgiving is a reflection of family heritage. In her case, the German potato salad recipe she contributed to the New York Times is a recipe that came through generations of her family.

Massie stresses the importance of food, saying that it is one of the things held in common by everyone. Massie says that you can go anywhere in the world and talk about food with someone, as food ties everyone together.

Listen to our conversation with Massie below.


David Haines / Flickr

In recent weeks it has been impossible to go on Facebook without encountering many posts from groups trying to convince retailers to resist the urge to open on Thanksgiving Day.

More retailers are doing just that. K-Mart, for instance, opens at 6 a.m. Thanksgiving Day and will remain open 42 straight hours.

Among groups trying to push back against this growing trend is the group "Take Back Thanksgiving."

Its founder Annie Zirkel joined us today. Listen to our conversation with Zirkel below.


A potato salad says "Michigan" to the New York Times.
Megan Myers / Flickr

As you plan your Thanksgiving meal, what is the one dish that represents your family? Maybe it’s one that's been handed down through generations.

The New York Times recently ran a piece that highlighted a recipe collection called The United States of Thanksgiving. Each recipe, the authors wrote, evoked each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The recipe that evoked Michigan, according to the Times, was German potato salad.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Thanksgiving is almost here, and with it comes Black Friday – one of the largest shopping days of the year.

Many stores begin Black Friday by opening their doors to shoppers at the crack of dawn, and even more have begun to open to shoppers on Thanksgiving Day itself.

To examine what goes into this shopping mania, we talked to University of Michigan marketing professors Scott Rick and Aradhna Krishna.

Flickr user hildgrim

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, a holiday based around food and our American roots, we decided to take a look back at how American food and eating has changed throughout the 20th century. 

Chris Cook, chief restaurant and wine critic at Hour Detroit Magazine, joined us to talk about how Americans have gone from the simplistic food of the 1930s to the sophisticated restaurant scene of today.

During the 1930s and throughout World War II, Cook says the United States relied on uncomplicated foods like sandwiches and canned vegetables to make it through shortages and rations.

dierbergs.com

Many Michigan restaurant owners are saying thanks today.

Thanksgiving is a big day for many Michigan restaurants, which offer special menus to sold out seatings.

In Lansing, Clara’s is open on Thanksgiving for the first time.

Cindy Jubeck says her father, who founded the restaurant back in the 1970’s, never would have opened the restaurant on Thanksgiving.

www.thehavenbc.org

The people who run a homeless shelter in Battle Creek are giving thanks for the way the community has responded to their need this Thanksgiving.

The Haven of Rest shelter was among the hundreds of thousands of utility customers that lost power for several days earlier this month, after a severe windstorm blew through the state.

Without electricity, days-worth of meat and produce spoiled in the shelter’s refrigerators.

Forget the great cattle drives in the Old West. I want to know more about the "great turkey drives" in the Old East. (This is one more for the "Thanksgiving story files.")

wikimedia commons

Back in 2007, I was doing a story on CAFOs in Wood County, Ohio.

I was waiting for my interviewee to return home when I spotted a gang of turkeys appear at the edge of the woods.

I had some time to kill, so I channeled my inner Marlin Perkins, got out my "shotgun" microphone, and attempted to record some wild nature sounds. (A "shotgun" microphone does not shoot anything, it's simply a long microphone that collects sound from far away.)

DETROIT (AP) - Chilly winds and snow flurries are greeting thousands of Michigan travelers as they head home after spending the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends.

The long Thanksgiving weekend saw temperatures push into the 60s in places, but Michigan got a preview of winter on Sunday, with midday readings in 20s and 30s and swirling snow in places.

AAA Michigan has estimated that about 1.3 million state residents were planning to travel 50 miles or more during this year's Thanksgiving period, an increase of 7 percent over 2011.

Many buses are fully booked Sunday on the Megabus discount travel system that serves Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and East Lansing, and flights are packed at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Black Friday gets darker: Study says prices aren't really lower

Nov 23, 2012
Steve Rhodes / flickr

While there must be some Black Friday shoppers waking up before dawn just for the thrill of throwing elbows on their way to the last Tickle Me Elmo, most shoppers rationalize this seemingly irrational behavior by pointing to cheaper prices.

And of course the prices are lower. Right?

Not so, says the Wall Street Journal.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan retailers are optimistic they will have a very good holiday shopping season this year.

Nationally, sales are expected to be up by four percent over last year.

Tom Scott with the Michigan Retailers Association says this is a critical five-week stretch for many store owners.

“It’s probably 20 to 25% of a retailers’ business of the year…depending on what kind of retailer they are,” says Scott,  “If they’re a toy store….it could be 50% or more.”

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Many Michigander plans to mix turkey and shopping today.   But one Michigan State University professor believes it’s a delicate balance for retailers.

It used to be that large crowds lined up in the early hours the day after Thanksgiving to jam Michigan stores and take advantage of Black Friday sales.

No more.

Walmart, Target and other major retailers plan to open this evening, well before midnight, barely giving many Michiganders time to digest their turkey dinners before starting on their holiday shopping lists.

Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

With the exception of a few wild selections, the Thanksgiving spreads of today closely resemble those of the 1800’s.

Bill Loomis, author of “Detroit’s Delectable Past,” claimed our ancestors had a taste for animals of considerable size- such as the bear.

During the 19th century, animals were killed specifically for the Thanksgiving meal.

Cuts of chicken, duck, fish, quail and squirrel were served with mounds of squash and other root vegetables.

Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

In honor of Thanksgiving... we're revisiting a Michigan farmer who raises heritage turkeys.

Those are turkeys that have a little bit of a wilder history. Some farmers are trying to keep these older turkey breeds from going extinct.

John Harnois has a yard full of turkeys. He says he knows his turkeys so well, he can speak their language.

"The turkeys pip, they bark, they gobble."

These turkeys are mostly males. They're trying to look all big and macho as they strut around in front of the hens. These birds are the Narragansett breed.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Nearly 500 volunteers served a hot meal to more than 1,300 people in need Wednesday night. That’s a record for the Holland Rescue Mission which has held the annual dinner for nearly 20 years. The non-profit runs a number of programs to help lift people from poverty.

Governor Rick Snyder says he’s responsible for his family’s Thanksgiving feast this year. But he says working in the kitchen is a lower priority than another holiday tradition – the Detroit Lions Thanksgiving Day football game.

“I’m cooking. I’m doing two turkeys. Actually, we’re cooking them on Friday, though, because I’m hoping – the family’s all going to the Lions game. So, go Lions – We’ve got a great chance to beat those Packers,” said Snyder.

That could cost the governor some support in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where many sports fans have regional loyalty to Green Bay.

The governor has predicted the Lions will be in a Super Bowl before he leaves office.

A Thanksgiving story

Nov 23, 2011

Thanksgiving will be celebrated across the country tomorrow. Many of us will spend the day with friends and family, but it’s not always time spent peacefully and harmoniously, especially when our plans for the holiday are challenged.

Michigan based writer, Wade Rouse has been bringing us stories about the holidays throughout the year. Today, he reflects on Thanksgiving traditions and how important it can be to be open to change.

Wade Rouse lives in Michigan and is the author of "It's All Relative: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays and 50 Boxes of Wine.”

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