Tradition of making Salvation Army dinner passes to new restaurant owners

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) Twenty years ago a man and his daughter went to Thanksgiving dinner at the Salvation Army. When the food didn’t meet their standards, they decided they wanted to help the next year and make even better food since they owned a restaurant.

The owner of The Plainsman in Juniata recently sold the business to an employee and with it came the responsibility to feed the community on Thanksgiving. (KSNB)

Gravy, potatoes, and of course turkey. A feast made for hundreds of people. The Plainsman restaurant owner Ben Pegg stepped in to make it special but now he has passed the torch to his so called son Jon Edwards.

“The last five years of doing this I wouldn't have been able to do it without Jon. I am just very proud of both of them,” Pegg said. “They've done a good job and all the people that have come in to help makes me feel good.”

Jon has worked for Ben for several years and took over the restaurant this year. With that he took over the Thanksgiving dinner for the community. On Monday him and his wife Kayla set to making 21 turkeys and other recipes from Ben and their friend Leah. For Jon, he knew he wanted to keep up making the dinner.

“I kind of know firsthand what it's like to be in need, so it's always been a special thing to do this and I am going to keep it going for as long as I have The Plainsman,” Jon said.

They have a lot of volunteers come and help serve and cook the last minute dishes. They even delivered dozens of meals to people who couldn't make it to the masonic center. The Edwards’ said they enjoy getting to take charge of such a good deed.

“Just when we leave here in the afternoon you feel like you've done your part, that you've helped the community out. That's what we are here for, to help Hastings and the surrounding areas that are in need,” Kayla said.

The Plainsman donated a portion of the food but also got donations from other businesses and their suppliers. They helped the Salvation Army serve over 300 people.