Brass Rail Owner Donating 10K Thanksgiving Meals This Year

It's their sixth year in a row of providing meals

November 6, 2019

(Getty Images)


Credit Scott Ellinger for organizing and executing one of the area’s largest outpourings of generosity on Thanksgiving Day. For the sixth year in a row, The Brass Rail's owner will coordinate the donation and delivery of more than 10,000 Thanksgiving dinners to thousands of families within a 60-mile radius of the steakhouse.

Last year, Ellinger added a winter clothes donation to the delivery and will do so again this year. After hearing volunteers describe houses with no electricity and school-age children with no hats and no gloves, Ellinger said, “If we can feed them for a day, we can put hats and gloves on them as well.”

The effort requires hundreds of volunteers to prepare and portion food, cook, fill orders, answer phones, and deliver the meals. So far this year, only 350 people have signed up; last year, approximately 1,700 volunteers participated. In a press release, Ellinger said, “We could sure use the community’s help this year to continue this labor of love. We’ve had teachers, Girl Scout groups, first responders, veterans, bike clubs, police, retirees, and even 4-year-olds come out with their families to volunteer. We love seeing the same faces return to help every year, and we always enjoy meeting new friends.”

When Ellinger opened The Brass Rail in early 2012, he wanted to provide "the best food, outstanding service, and a comfortable neighborhood feel." To that end, the restaurant uses USDA Prime Sirloin (aged and cut in the restaurant's butcher shop), and the kitchen cooks from scratch.

To prepare the nearly four tons of food for distribution, Ellinger and his team start cooking the Sunday before Thanksgiving and work around the clock through Thanksgiving evening. Each made-from-scratch meal includes turkey, ham, and all the trimmings, including cookies.

Families in need should contact the restaurant before November 22 to reserve their meals. Deliveries will begin at 8:30 a.m. Thanksgiving morning. Last year, all 10,000 meals were delivered by early afternoon. All leftovers and any leftover clothing are donated to area food pantries.

Anyone wishing to dine in the restaurant may do so from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. No reservations are required, and walk-ins are welcome for the scratch-made buffet. (More than 1,000 guests participated last year.) “And we always send them home with an extra meal,” Ellinger says.

The Brass Rail is located at 4601 State Highway K in O’Fallon, Missouri. For more information or to volunteer, please contact the restaurant at 636-329-1349.

CLICK HERE to find out more about how you can be involved.