The Thanksgiving holiday is generally considered a time of giving thanks and a time to spend the day eating a feast with friends and family.
But some organizations and volunteers in Columbus and Starkville will be giving their time and abilities to cook and hand out food to those who are less fortunate.
In Columbus, the Salvation Army and the police department will be handing out Thanksgiving meals.
The Salvation Army of Columbus will serve meals to those in need at their main office, 2119 Main St., from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday.
Maj. Alan Phillips said the organization is in need of volunteers beginning at 9 a.m. to help prepare and serve the food.
He said side dishes, condiments and turkeys are also needed.
Monetary or food donations can be dropped off at the main office, and those who want to volunteer can call Phillips at 662-822-8867.
“This is just a good opportunity for volunteers to give of themselves to those who are needy,” Phillips said.
The Columbus Police Department is also in need of volunteers on Thanksgiving Day at 8 a.m. at Stokes Beard Elementary School to help pack and deliver food.
Volunteers do not have to call ahead. They can just show up the day of the event.
CPD holds an annual citywide turkey drive, and “we join in with citizens to feed 1,600 elderly and disabled on Thanksgiving Day,” said Rhonda Sanders, CPD community relations officer.
Sanders said volunteers’ vehicles are needed to help distribute the food to residents whose names the CPD received from local organizations like Contact Helpline, Meals on Wheels, churches and health organizations.
Monetary donations to help purchase side dishes are also needed. Checks can be written to the Columbus-Lowndes Recreation Authority and be dropped off at its office at 2535 Main St. or at the police department.
“We protect and we serve, and this is the time of the year with the toy drive and this, when we help serve,” Sanders said.
In Starkville, the Salvation Army and a local church will provide Thanksgiving meals.
The Starkville Salvation Army service center has partnered with the Area Agency on Aging through the Golden Triangle Planning and District Development office to obtain a list of names of elderly residents to deliver food to on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Cappe’s Steak and Seafood will provide the meals and LoveLee Rolls will provide the bread, said service center manager Katie Walker.
Thanksgiving Dinner for International Students and Their Families will be held in the Christian Life Center at the First United Methodist Church on the corner of Meigs and West Lampkin streets on Thursday at 11:30 a.m.
Free reservation tickets are available at the church’s office or at the Mississippi State University International Education or Holmes Cultural Diversity Center offices.
The dinner was first organized by Ruth de la Cruz in 1984 as a way to expose international students that were remaining in town over the break to the culture of the traditional American Thanksgiving.
Any organizations hosting or delivering Thanksgiving meals can contact Dispatch news editor Angel Coker at firstname.lastname@example.org with information about their event to be added to the online edition of this article.