Chicago, IL

Here's how those in need can get meals this Thanksgiving

Lashaunta Moore

Many people use Thanksgiving to express gratitude and be surrounded by their loved ones. It's common to have a massive feast—most of which you probably won't even finish. You'll have enough to last several days, but only grab seconds and throw away the rest.

This year, the holiday falls on a Thursday (November 23rd, to be exact). As you count down the days until you can smell sweet potato pie, turkey, and more, remember that there are less fortunate people who won't get the chance to celebrate in a comfy home surrounded by love. Some people only have enough to get by and won't be able to spend money on Thanksgiving dinner.

Although times are tough, there are ways for homeless individuals and those navigating through financial hardships to receive a warm Thanksgiving meal. Feeding America's website has a directory and locater of food banks, food pantries, soup kitchens, and faith groups offering free Thanksgiving meals.

Once a person puts in their location (zip code or name of the neighborhood), the locater will show all available food banks and pantries, their address, hours of operation, and phone number.

Feeding America's website also states how food banks will give out food for Thanksgiving.

  • Free turkeys: A free turkey can come in a Thanksgiving food box, or you may get a gift card to buy a turkey from a grocery store. You may get another protein like ham or chicken when turkeys are unavailable.
  • Thanksgiving dinner: Your local food pantry or soup kitchen may serve a free Thanksgiving lunch or dinner. They may serve this meal on Thanksgiving, the day before Thanksgiving, or the day after. Due to the pandemic, meals may be to-go rather than dine-in.
  • Thanksgiving food boxes: Many food banks provide free baskets or boxes with food to make your own Thanksgiving meal. These boxes can include protein like turkey and sides like cranberries, gravy, and vegetables. You may need to pick up your box at a drive-thru pantry or schedule a contactless pickup.
  • Home delivery: Home delivery may be available if you cannot visit a food distribution in person. Many food banks and food pantries deliver pre-prepared Thanksgiving meals or food boxes. Some home deliveries are limited to seniors and people with disabilities. Ask your food bank or food pantry if you qualify for home delivery.

Visit Feeding America's website for more information!

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