SIOUX CITY -- As the president of the Siouxland Soup Kitchen, Josh Lebowich has learned to expect the unexpected.
"You simply never know what the day is going to bring your way," he said, inside the dining room of the 717 West Seventh St. facilities. "Once you learn that, everything will be fine."
However, Lebowich will be anticipating at least 150 diners to attend the Soup Kitchen's annual Thanksgiving dinner, from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday.
"We have it the day before Thanksgiving to give our volunteers a chance to celebrate the holidays with their family," he explained.
Soup Kitchen manager Danielle Tott said Sioux City Ford Lincoln is donating all of the food, with the exception of the turkey, that comes courtesy of Sioux City's Tur-Pak Foods Inc.
"Actually, this year will be turkey roasts," she said. "That means it will be easier to cook and easier to serve."
Which is the name of the game for a meal that is free-of-change for anyone desiring some holiday cheer.
"When people think of the Soup Kitchen, they think we only feed the homeless," Tott said, shaking her head. "Instead, we serve anybody who wants a hot meal."
As she begins to prepare food in the facilities' large kitchen, Tott mentioned the three widowed men who come to the Soup Kitchen, five nights a week.
"The guys were accustomed to their wives serving them dinner," she said. "We love that they leave the cooking to us."
Tott also recalls seeing a group of young ladies, who were working while going to college but still having difficulties making ends meet at the end of the month.
"This happens more often than you think," Lebowich said. "We're much busier at the end of the month than we are at the beginning. The end of the month is when money becomes tight."
Lebowich ought to know.
The son of the Siouxland Soup Kitchen's longtime president Gordon Lebowich, he's been volunteering his time at the nonprofit since childhood.
"My dad said it isn't against the law to be hungry," Lebowich, who was named the Soup Kitchen's president after Gordon Lebowich's 2016 death, explained. "My dad was right."
Tott, who has been the Soup Kitchen's head cook since August 2017, agrees.
"We try to make Thanksgiving as special as possible," she said. "We'll have turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans and plenty of pumpkin pie."
"You know what? We'll even have special tablecloths," Tott said with a laugh. "That's how classy it will be."
A few days prior to Thanksgiving, citizens walk into the Soup Kitchen to donate food items.
"We'll take food in cans, boxes, you name it," Lebowich said, "We'll even accept cooked items because nothing will ever go to waste."
"This is true," Tott interjected. "Yesterday's chicken can easily become tonight's chicken soup."
Still, Lebowich has come to expect the unexpected.
"Nobody who volunteers at the Soup Kitchen expects a pat on the back," he reasoned. "We're here because there's a need for a Soup Kitchen in the community."
The need is even greater during the holidays.
"There's a lot of people who aren't able to have a nice Thanksgiving meal," Lebowich said. "We're providing a free meal and companionship on a day when it isn't fun to be alone."
"Nobody should go hungry on Thanksgiving," he added.