NAPLES — Gov. Rick Scott and his wife Ann tossed salad, chopped onions, cut pies and carved turkeys Thursday as they and a legion of volunteers prepared dinner for up to 750 homeless people expected at St. Matthew’s House in East Naples.
It’s the third year the Scotts have volunteered at the shelter on Airport Road – and the chilliest. Temperatures this morning plunged to 53 degrees, making it more difficult for the homeless not housed in shelters.
There are 200 staying at St. Matthew’s House, mostly men, and 10 children, and another 100 housed at Wolfe Apartments in Golden Gate as part of a substance-abuse recovery program, according to Robert Burns, the shelter’s spokesman.
“We’re expecting people to start lining up outside the door at 11:30,” Burns said, adding that they expect the line to wind around the building, as usual.
The shelter and its 80 volunteers are well prepared and will work in several shifts today, preparing and serving food, according to Burns, who said food donations have been coming in for the past weeks and days.
Volunteers spent the morning carving 180 turkeys, mashing 600 pounds of potatoes and stirring 20 gallons of gravy. There’s another 450 pounds of sweet potatoes, 250 pounds of cranberry sauce, about 1,000 rolls and 350 apple, pecan, blueberry, pumpkin and cherry pies.
Earlier, runners raised money for the shelter during a Gobble Gobble 4-mile Run-and-Fun Walk that started at 7 a.m. at The Village on Venetian Bay. A half-hour later, runners lined up for the Inaugural Turkey Trot 5k at Cambier Park in downtown Naples.