Skagit Valley College culinary students prepare Thanksgiving meals

November 23, 2018
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Skagit Valley College culinary arts students Greg Wallace and Nicole Ulerio fill a pie shell Wednesday morning with the last of the pumpkin pie filling. The students were preparing Thanksgiving meals for families in need.

MOUNT VERNON — Thanks to culinary students and staff at Skagit Valley College, 42 Skagit County families will have hot Thanksgiving meals today.

For the past four days, culinary students have been busy chopping, rolling, prepping and baking turkeys, side dishes, rolls and pies to be delivered to families in need.

“I see the students’ hearts go into the product,” said culinary arts department co-chair Dani Cox. “I see the camaraderie.”

Cox said the college has been making Thanksgiving meals for those in need for at least 20 years.

Normally, she said the students and instructors prepare about 27 Thanksgiving meals.

On Wednesday morning, they added 15 more families to the list.

The department sees the tradition as part of the college’s commitment to the community, especially when people may not realize how prevalent hunger is throughout the county, said culinary arts department co-chair Gilbert Rodriguez.

“It’s important to care,” he said.

Making the meals also provides real-world experience to students, who in their future careers may find themselves scrambling to find 15 turkeys the day before Thanksgiving, like Rodriguez said he did.

“When you commit to do something, do it,” he said. “Think on your feet.”

Despite being in the kitchen since 5 a.m., 18-year-old student Nicole Ulerio was all smiles Wednesday as she filled pumpkin pies and kneaded dough for rolls.

“It’s fun helping out with the community,” Ulerio said. “I really enjoy this.”

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