Hundreds of volunteers will serve thousands of free Thanksgiving meals with all the trimmings mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, rolls, stuffing and lots of slices of pumpkin pie to the homeless, the lonely, sen-iors and anyone else looking to share a day of gratitude with others.
Meals will be served in Modesto, Turlock, Oakdale and other Stanislaus County communities. And it's not too late to lend a hand. Those putting on the holiday feasts need help: more turkeys and the fixings, money to pay for the meals and other assistance.
Here is a partial listing of the community meals:
Modesto Gospel Mission will hold its annual Thanksgiving Banquet and Bundle Up. The mission expects to feed about 1,000 people when it opens its doors at 3 p.m. Besides a meal, guests will receive a coat, jacket or other outerwear to keep them warm this winter. The mission needs uncooked turkeys and all the sides, including pumpkin and fruit pies. It needs more jackets and coats for men, women and children. Donations can be dropped off at the mission, 1400 Yosemite Blvd., through Wednesday morning.
The Spirit of Oakdale Committee will hold its 19th annual Thanksgiving dinner at the Gene Bianchi Community Center, 110 S. Second Ave., from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Organizers fed about 1,200 people last year, including delivering meals to about 100 homebound sen-iors and disabled residents. "This is a community dinner, you don't have to be needy," Spirit of Oakdale Co-Chair Mickey Peabody said.
Diners will leave with boxes of canned and packaged food collected by Oakdale schoolchildren through a food drive. Children will receive toys and be entertained with face painting and crafts. Peabody said the Oakdale Walgreens drugstore raised $150 through a bake sale for the purchase of the toys, which Oakdale stores sold at a discount. "We got $300 worth of toys," Peabody said.
Organizers need more cooked, unstuffed turkeys in disposable pans, as well as pumpkin and fruit pies. The food needs to be dropped off at the community center at 5 p.m. Wednesday or before 11 a.m. Thursday.
The Salvation Army's Modesto Citadel Corps will team up again with the Costa family for the annual Thanks-For-Giving Dinner at Modesto Centre Plaza. Doors open at 1 p.m. Thursday. Organizers expect to serve about 1,000 people.
Salvation Army Capt. Mike Paugh said there will be face painting and games for children, as well as story times. The Salvation Army will provide doughnuts and coffee in the morning for those waiting in line, and the Enochs High School marching band will entertain the crowd. The Costas will provide free family photographs for diners.
Paugh said the army needs monetary donations to help pay for the meal. Donations can be sent to
625 I St., Modesto 95354. Write "Thanks-For-Giving" in the check's memo line.
Modesto Area Express will provide free busing for the dinner. Buses on three routes will arrive at Centre Plaza about 12:35 p.m. Thursday. They will depart at 2:30 p.m. on the same routes. If a bus reaches capacity, another will be sent.
Brochures showing the routes can be found at www.modestoareaexpress.com, on MAX buses, at many social service agencies and in the Tenth Street Place lobby. Modesto Area Dial-A-Ride will offer free rides to anyone in its service area unable to use fixed routes. Reservations must be made by calling (209) 527-4900 by noon Wednesday.
Turlock Gospel Mission is working with Connecting Point Church of the Nazarene to provide Thanksgiving meals to several hundred people. The meals will be served at the church starting at 6 p.m. The church is at 3200 E. Monte Vista Ave., just east of Waring Road.
Turlock Gospel Mission Executive Director Tim Guerino said organizers need turkeys with all the fixings, including fresh yams and pumpkin and fruit pies. They also need coffee, cream, sugar and nondairy creamer. Donations can be dropped off at 1030 East Ave.
Enclave Community Church in Turlock will hold its annual Thanksgiving dinner from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. The church is at 581 E. Canal Drive. The church needs more volunteers, monetary donations and food for the dinner. The deadline for donations is noon Thursday. For more information, call Barbara at (209) 818-2314.
The United Samaritans Foundation in Turlock will serve 1,400 holiday meals from its lunch trucks at the dozens of parks and other sites the trucks visit in Modesto, Turlock, Ceres and other Stanislaus County communities.
The food includes 50 pumpkin pies baked by Ceres High School students, as well as pumpkin pies donated from Turlock chiropractor Dave Dubyak's annual pumpkin pie contest held Monday. But United Samaritans needs more cranberry sauce, instant mashed potatoes, milk and butter. Donations can be dropped off at 220 S. Broadway from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The deadline for donations is noon Wednesday.
Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2316.