This Thanksgiving, In Sook Baik is cooking for 500.
The tradition started about five years ago, when her son suggested serving a free Thanksgiving lunch to the customers at their convenience store on Mountain View Drive. They’ve been doing it ever since.
Baik — who owns the Mountain View Shell and another station on W. Tudor Rd. — plans on serving turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. She buys all the food herself, and prepares and serves the meals with the help of a few energetic volunteers. Tuesday, she picked up seven cases of deli turkey in preparation for the big day.
“God gives me more than enough,” she said.
On Thanksgiving, she wants to share some of it.
She’ll start cooking at 8 a.m. Thursday, using the big kitchen at First Korean Presbyterian Church. At noon, she’ll drive the hot lunches across town to the Mountain View Shell and spend the next three-and-a-half hours serving anyone who comes through her doors. Last year, she fed more than 400 people. She doesn’t ask for donations or publicize the meal much, and she feels uncomfortable being photographed for a story. It’s not about her, she said.
After more than 30 years spent working in Anchorage gas stations, Baik said Mountain View holds a special place in her heart. It’s different. The first time she saw somebody run out of gas outside, she was surprised to see random strangers help out with $5 here, $10 there; enough to put a few more gallons back in the tank.
“They don’t have much money, but they know how to share it,” Baik said.
In Mountain View, she said, people share because they’ve gone without. She wants to share what she has, too.
“I am a lucky person,” she said.
This article was originally published in November 2014.