Thanksgiving food, fellowship at area events

Ronald E. Carrington | 11/15/2018, 6 a.m.
Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends and fellowship. But it also can be a stressful and lonely time for ...
Thousands of people enjoy last year’s Thanksgiving feast put on by The Giving Heart at the Greater Richmond Convention Center that is open to the Richmond community. Photo by Sandra Sellars Richmond Free Press

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends and fellowship.

But it also can be a stressful and lonely time for others.

Several Richmond area organizations and churches are helping by providing Thanksgiving turkeys and dinners to area residents. Several holiday meal providers also are welcoming additional volunteers — cooks, turkey carvers, servers and greeters, table designers, transportation and general helpers — to assist at various locations.

Vicki Neilson, founder and executive director of The Giving Heart, one of the largest Thanksgiving programs in the area, asked for donations of food or dollars to help defray the cost of the annual event that feeds more than 2,400 people on Thanksgiving Day at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

This year’s Community Thanksgiving Feast will be held 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 22, in the Exhibition Hall at the convention center, 403 N. 3rd St. in Downtown. The feast will include turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, vegetables, rolls and dessert.

Free parking is available in the garage at 3rd and Marshall streets.

Through a partnership with GRTC, the transit company will provide free rides to people heading to the event. GRTC ambassadors will be on board buses to provide passes to riders, while passes for the return trip will be available at the convention center.

To help make the feast possible, The Giving Heart officials will be collecting donations 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 19 and 20, at Richmond City Hall, 9th and Broad streets in Downtown. Volunteers are also needed at the Convention Center to help set up on Wednesday, Nov. 21.

This year, student volunteers from J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College’s culinary arts program will be cutting and deboning turkeys, as well as baking 150 pies for dessert, she said.

In addition to serving dinner, the organization will give prizes and personal items to Thanksgiving guests, offer free flu shots and haircuts and have a crafting area.

“Donors are requested to bring toiletries, blankets, sleeping bags, diapers, jackets, coats, sweaters, hats, gloves, scarves, as well as non-perishable food,” Ms. Neilson said in a Free Press interview. “We are also asking any area bakeries or restaurants to donate desserts and baked goods.”

Individuals and companies also can sponsor a table as a donation, which Ms. Neilson said can be done in memory or honor of a loved one or special person. The sponsorship will help pay for buying all the turkeys, food and renting the convention center, she said.

Details: www.thegivingheart.org or (804) 749-4726.

Following are other area food and fellowship programs for the holiday.

Dinner for Veterans

The Military Retirees Club is giving away about 75 turkey dinners to be cooked by veterans in their homes.

The event begins at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, at the club, 2220 Chamberlayne Ave. in North Side.

Details: MRC President Johnnie Hagans at (804) 321-3188 or Charles Barker at (804) 908-8437.

Thanksgiving Harvest

St. Paul’s Baptist Church and Richmond area organizations are scheduled to provide boxed meals for more than 2,000 families from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, at the Arthur Ashe Jr. Athletic Center, 3001 N. Boulevard.