Where there is a will to eat turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and other turkey day fixings, there will be a way to eat turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and other turkey day fixings and do it free of charge.
Organizers of local community Thanksgiving dinners are preparing to welcome those seeking hot meals or the kindness and good cheer that comes with the holiday like a warm slice of pumpkin pie.
Here is a rundown of local community celebrations.
Thanksgiving in Dayton: Feast of Giving, the seventh annual dinner is a true celebration, said Betsy Russell, ABC22 and FOX45’s creative services director.
The dinner will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at the Dayton Convention Center, 22 E. 5th St., Dayton.
“It is a fantastic expression of community, and to have so many people be together and have the same common experience,” Russell said. “We are celebrating community and how great it is to be in Dayton and be among friends.”
ABC22 and FOX45; Dermatologists of Southwest Ohio; RTA; Stratacache and Legrand are organizers of the event that continues the 40-year tradition of the Beerman Family Thanksgiving Dinner.
The event is free, as is parking in the Convention Center garage.
RTA and Project Mobility will offer free transportation to and from the convention center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 937-425-8300 for RTA information.
Some of the event’s 500 volunteers will get started Tuesday or Wednesday.
“When you feed approximately 8,000 people, there is a lot of chopping and that sort of thing,” Russell explained. “We always have more volunteers than we have to use, which is a fantastic thing.”
Volunteers for this year’s dinner have already been selected.
Likewise, the House of Bread, a community kitchen located at 9 Orth Ave. off West Riverview Avenue already has selected its Thanksgiving volunteers for its meal to be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Melodie Bennett, HOB’s executive director, said volunteer spaces are already booked for Christmas as well.
This doesn’t mean you can’t give back.
Bennett said many of HOB’s volunteers are retirees and are out of the area during winter months. There is much need for extra hands in January, February and March, she said.
HOB expects to feed about 160 people on Thanksgiving, down from the typical 250 they feed on most days.
She said many of those who typically receive HOB meals go to the Feast of Giving or relatives’ homes for Thanksgiving.
“People who tend to be estranged from their family tend not to be estranged for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but they are estranged for the Fourth of July,” she said.
The Lincoln Community Center, 110 Ash St. in Troy, is using the holiday as way to rejoice with the community it serves, staff member Nicole Burton said.
There will be games and entertainment at the event put on by LCC and supporting agencies.
The meal highlighted by deep-fried turkey will be served starting at 5:30 p.m.
“It is just a time for all the staff and agencies to break bread with the youth,” Burton said.
Some area churches also will serve special holiday meals.
The Rev. David Renfro of Evangel Church of God, 132 N. Smithville Road in Dayton, said the church served or delivered 700 meals last year at its dinner.
The 8th annual dinner will be served from noon to 3 p.m. and is open to anyone.
Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 1200 Forrer Boluevard in Kettering, will hold its annual community Thanksgiving dinner from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.