In a few days, most of us will sit down with family and friends to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast. But not everyone is so fortunate.
Homeless people don't have a kitchen to cook in or a table to dine at. And many people who have suffered the effects of the struggling economy can't afford the special meal for their family.
Thanks to the kindness of volunteers in our community, these people have a place to go on Thanksgiving so they, too, can enjoy the holiday feast. Several places around the county will offer plates of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and more to anyone in need of a nice hot meal.
Christine Loewe, outreach and marketing coordinator for the Volunteer Centers of Santa Cruz County, says they are always in need of volunteers. More information for those wishing to donate their time for Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season is available on the Volunteer Centers' website. Click on the "Holiday Volunteering" button.
Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium
Friends of Thanksgiving, a group of volunteers who were disappointed that the annual Thanksgiving dinner at the Veterans Memorial Building on Front Street was canceled, will host a free Thanksgiving meal at the from noon to 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
It's been a real community effort to make this Thanksgiving dinner possible. County Treasurer Fred Keeley, called a "community hero" by Friends of Thanksgiving spokesman Steve Pleich, played an important role in the preparations for the dinner.
"Fred simply stepped in and got the job done quietly and without fanfare," Pleich said.
The will provide the kitchen, where Friends of Thanksgiving will prepare food for the 1,200-1,500 people expected to show up for the dinner.
And the diners are, no doubt, in for a tasty meal, with local chefs Mikey Adams and Steve Beumier in charge of cooking.
Beach Flats Community Center
Each year, the Beach Flats Community Center volunteers cook up a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner. This year's event will take place on Thanksgiving Day at Beach Flats Park on the corner of Raymond Street and Leibrandt Avenue from 3-6 p.m.
Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry and Kitchen
The Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes will serve a traditional turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day at noon. You can arrive a little early to sign in (no ID required) and avoid standing in two lines.
Besides the holidays, Loaves and Fishes serves a hot meal at noon every Monday through Friday.
The location is 150 2nd St. in Watsonville.
Watsonville Salvation Army
The Watsonville Salvation Army, at 214 Union St., will serve dinner on Thanksgiving Day at 5:30 p.m.
All are welcome to enjoy this hot meal prepared and served by volunteers.