Imaging having to put together a Thanksgiving Dinner for over 2,000 people. Just the thought of it makes me work up a sweat, but that’s exactly what Mel Trotter Ministries does every year.

This will be the 20th Annual Thanksgiving Banquet that Mel Trotter has put together. This is a free meal for anyone in the Grand Rapids community who might not otherwise have a Thanksgiving meal. Many of the more than 2,000 guests will be hungry, homeless and hurting residents of our community. This is a no cost event open to everyone.

Mel Trotter Thanksgiving Banquet
Mel Trotter Ministries

The family-style meal will be held in the Ball Room of the DeVos Place Convention Center on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 24th. Doors open at 10:30 am with meal time from 11 am to 1:00 pm.

What does it take to pull off an event like this? Abbey Sladick, Director of Communication at Mel Trotter Ministries says it takes the help of nearly 750 volunteers. Because of so many volunteers who donate their time to help with the banquet, they have more volunteers than positions to fill. A big thank you goes out to Meijer, Ram Die Corporation, Dematic Employee Association and Bruce & Becky Pienton, who are sponsoring this year’s banquet. That Rapid transit line has also partnered with Mel Trotter to provide buses on a few specific routes and times. Click here for the Rapid schedule.

And just how much food do you have to prepare for 2,000+ guests?

  • Over 1,500 pounds of turkey
  • 1,260 pounds of mashed potatoes
  • 50 gallons of gravy
  • 200 pies
  • Many more delicious sides and desserts


Mel Trotter Ministries

If you would like more information about Mel Trotter Ministries, their website is To contact them by phone, their number is (616) 588-8754. Please keep this great organization in mind when making donations this year as well. Mel Trotter Ministries is the only agency in West Michigan that serves any person who is homeless.