Nov 22

A handful of Jefferson City-area organizations are providing Thanksgiving meals this week.

cargill meals

American Legion

American Legion Post 5 will host a Thanksgiving dinner 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday at Roscoe Enloe Post 5, 1423 Tanner Bridge Road.

Cost is $14 for adults, $7 for children 12 and younger.

Organizers said this is the perfect time to get out and enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner. The post will offer turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, green bean casserole, desserts and more. Up to 150 people are expected to join the event.


Salvation Army

The Salvation Army Center of Hope hosts Thanksgiving meals for residents and for the community. It also delivers meals to homebound folks in the area. The nonprofit will hold the first of two community meals noon-1 p.m. Thanksgiving day, Director Brian Vogeler said.

Anyone who knows of an elderly person who can't get out should call the center and let volunteers know how they might reach that person.

"We need volunteers," Vogeler said.

Call the main number 573-635-1975 and use the "Center of Hope" option to volunteer or to reserve meals (for dine-in, pick-up or delivery). The center's extension is 112.

"We've returned to the dine-in option," he said. "Everybody's welcome."

Staff and residents have created Thanksgiving centerpieces that will decorate tables. Diners will be able to watch football on a large-screen TV. They'll enjoy turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, beans, rolls, desserts and more.

The second Thanksgiving meal will be just like the first, only a little later.

The meal will be offered 5-6 p.m.


Immaculate Conception Catholic Church

 Speaking of the Salvation Army, Cindy and Mike Schnieders had been volunteering there, and brought their children to the Center of Hope several years ago to help distribute Thanksgiving meals and to learn about giving back.

"We decided there was a need down there at Immaculate Conception," Mike Schnieders said. "The next year, we had our own meal. It started out small. There's a learning curve on our part."

Even with the need near Immaculate Conception, the couple received advice the dinner needed to be mobile to reach more people, because transportation — such as taking a cab — could cost as much as a meal.

The church's first Thanksgiving meal occurred 13 years ago.

The annual offering has grown to feed 1,000-1,100 people. That's where it seems to have leveled off, Schnieders said.

Volunteers are to deliver meals to Hamilton and Dulle towers.

The church, 1206 E. McCarty St., will host the hot Thanksgiving meal and fellowship 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday. Dine-in, carry-out and delivery options are available. Call 573-635-6143 to reserve meals.

Staff distributed about 2,500 fliers for the meal to clubs, schools and the library Monday.

As is a tradition, Cargill is donating about 40 turkeys for the event.

"We cook 900 pounds of turkey to net about 450 pounds of cooked meat," Schnieders said. "That turns out to be a lot of birds. It takes a lot of birds."

And it's a big expense that Cargill absorbs for the holiday.

One of the perks of volunteering to help with the dinner is the chance to receive some of Patricia Dohlman's dinner rolls. Dohlman annually bakes up to 1,200 for the feast the evening before.

"She comes in and bakes 1,100 to 1,200 homemade dinner rolls. She makes extra for the help," Schnieders said. "And they are delicious."


Samaritan Center

The Samaritan Center provides everything necessary for families it serves to cook and serve a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Clients must qualify for services at the center, based on federal poverty levels.

The families are given a Thanksgiving package during one of the Samaritan Center's regular food pantry days. Meal packages include everything the family needs to make a delicious turkey dinner, said Ben DeFeo, Samaritan Center Operations manager.

The nonprofit has been distributing Thanksgiving meals to clients since Nov. 1, DeFeo said. As of Thursday night, it had given out 964 meals. It annually distributes about 1,600 Thanksgiving meals this way.

"We're doing 50-55 families a day. In a normal year, we do about 1,600, so it's been slower," DeFeo said.

However, that may be misleading, he said. Like a roller coaster, the number of people using the center has been up and down on a daily basis over the past few months, he said.

Staff are concerned the organization is not seeing a number of elderly people who used to visit regularly DeFeo said.

"If you're scanning a crowd, you'll notice we don't have as many seniors as we're used to," he said.

The center has implemented outreach programs, but it remains unclear why seniors aren't yet returning — or whether some are still hesitant to be about in public.

He added that the center is taking a lot of calls for people requesting assistance with utilities or rent.

There appear to be quite a few folks who are moving into the Jefferson City area from larger urban areas. For example, DeFeo said the center had a surge in clients who relocated from Texas after winter storms last year.


Building Community Bridges

 Building Community Bridges (BCB) had a Thanksgiving meal drive through the first two-thirds of November. The nonprofit, whose mission is to uplift and aid youths in the community in respect to self-awareness, education, entrepreneurship and issues that affect their lives, will distribute fixings for meals to community members Monday and Tuesday.

This is the third consecutive year BCB has offered Thanksgiving meals for families. Families will receive a turkey (or ham), stuffing mix, chicken stock, instant potatoes, gravy mix, canned cranberry sauce, canned pie filling and ready-to-back pie crust.

Families may pick up the meals on a first-come, first-served basis 2-6 p.m. Monday or 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday at the BCB offices, 213 E. Ashley St.

Central Missouri Foster Care and Adoption Association

The association is providing a full Thanksgiving meal for each of its families. Families must have registered on the CMFCAA website.

Families who have signed up for the meal have stopped by one of the CMFCAA office locations and picked up a frozen turkey, canned vegetables, stuffing, potato mix and a couple of desserts. An earlier donation will allow the CMFCAA to provide each family with a gallon of milk and other dairy products.


First Baptist Church

First Baptist Church, 301 E. Capitol Ave., is entering its fourth decade of providing free meals for Thanksgiving, said Gary Hemphill, a retired pharmacist and member of the church who is coordinating the meal this year.

"(The annual feeding) has grown from concerns about people not having a place to be for Thanksgiving," Hemphill said. "We have taken this on as a gift for the Jefferson City community. It's not just for people who are alone, but for people who have no place to share a meal for Thanksgiving."

As always, chef Michael Ferguson will prepare the holiday meal of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, vegetables, cranberry sauce, rolls and pie. Call the church at 573-634-3603 to reserve your meals. Organizers expect the church to provide about 600 meals for the community.

The dinner will take place 11-a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday. A dine-in option will return this year.

"A meal doesn't always consist of just good food," Hemphill said.

People who dine at the church will enjoy conversations and light entertainment — instrumental music and a gospel singer.

Because a large number of people still don't feel comfortable dining out, pick-up and home-delivery options are available.

The meal also offers missions for volunteers, Hemphill said, who take care of those who need to be served.

"It's listening to their stories and being part of life's conversations," he continued. "That takes a little more out of the people who are volunteering than what they are expecting."

He added the manual labor volunteers provide is important, but no more so than the providing comfort and an ear for neighbors.

You may call the church to make arrangements for meal delivery or carry-out options, or to volunteer to help — whether that's delivery, food preparation or hosting a table to sit down and talk. The number is 573-634-3603.


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