Last minute shoppers, restaurants prepare for Thanksgiving

(WTNH) — The day before Thanksgiving is a very busy day for grocery stores and some restaurants.

Ashley Ray, her brother and her daughters were finishing up their Thanksgiving shopping at Stop & Shop in North Haven on Wednesday evening. She’s doing the cooking for more than a dozen people.

“[It’s] part of the job but I have two helpers, a third helper – my brother,” said Ray.

“I feel like she makes the best mac and cheese in the whole entire world,” said Ray’s daughter.

The family had planned on starting to cook after returning home with their last minute ingredients.

“We’re buying eggs to make deviled eggs, potato salad, shells to make stuffed shells,” said Ray.

This is one of the busiest weeks at Stop & Shop. The store uses last year’s sales numbers to decide how many turkeys to buy. That was good news for Peter Leonardo, who was just starting his shopping on Wednesday evening.

“Of course I’m running late so I’m just getting my turkey,” Leonardo said. “Stop & Shop is the only one left that has fresh turkeys.”

Leonardo will be spending the holiday with his sons. He’ll also be cooking, since his wife will be working.

“We’re all busy, we’re working, trying to make money, trying to get through this economy,” said Leonardo. “Spending time at home with family is the best thing.”

Meanwhile, families weren’t the only ones getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner. Christopher Martins, a restaurant in New Haven, will be holding a free dinner for people in need on Thanksgiving. Volunteers will be serving up to 500 three-course meals.

“It’s the best day of the year for us. It absolutely is. It’s so much fun,” said owner Chris Vigilante. “Unfortunately we see a lot of the same people every year.”

Volunteers are also collecting clothing to give to guests. They’ll get a care package to take home with clothes, food and toiletries.

“They get to go shopping,” said Vigilante. “We have a coat section, we a pants section, a shirt section, male, female.”

Many grocery stores are also open at least part of the day on Thanksgiving and are expecting another busy day.

Christopher Martins will be providing transportation to the restaurant for those who need it.

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