BOZEMAN — Employees and volunteers are working hard in the kitchen at Taco Montes, but instead of serving tacos they’re serving free Thanksgiving meals for the community.
“I didn’t have the time to fly home for Thanksgiving, so I guess I’m spending it with the people of Bozeman,” says Andrew Valgardson.
Valgardson is a senior at MSU and his family is back home in Washington. Due to the high price of flights, he’s spending his Thanksgiving at Taco Montes.
“It’s twice as expensive to fly out this weekend as it usually is,” says Valgardson.
But that doesn’t mean Valgardson doesn’t get to enjoy a free meal made with love.
“It’s just a lot of fun,” says the owner of Taco Montes, Hal Pedersen. “People who have nowhere to go, I’ve been in those shoes before.”
Pedersen says this holiday tradition started seven years ago.
“We just decided it would be fun to put together a community free meal,” says Pederson.
He said the preparation that goes into serving Thanksgiving dinner is from sunrise to sunset, but it’s all worth it.
“I got here at seven o’clock,” said Pedersen. “The last couple of days we’ve been peeling potatoes, yams, and getting breadcrumbs ready,” says Pedersen.
And of course, turkey.
“It’s cider brined and it I’m frying it,” says Pedersen. “We have mashers, yams, stuffing, green bean casserole, gravy, and cranberry sauce.
Pederson says he looks forward to giving back to the community, especially on days of thanks.
“It’s just fun and nice to give back to the community because they do so much for us,” says Pedersen.
As for, Valgardson…
“I’m just thankful for the people of Bozeman,” says Valgardson.