People in search of good food and holiday cheer on Thanksgiving — or even before the holiday — can stop in at a community Thanksgiving dinner in Bel Air, Havre de Grace or Perryville next week.
This Sunday, Hope in Action, a ministry of Central Christian Church, will host its annual dinner at the Bel Air Armory.
Dinners will be available on Thanksgiving Day at the Havre de Grace Community Center and American Legion Post 135 in Perryville.
Havre de Grace
The longest-running community Thanksgiving dinner will be Thursday at the Havre de Grace Community Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The community center is at 100 Lagaret Lane.
This year is the 29th for the free community dinner. It is run through the nonprofit Community Projects of Havre de Grace, and hundreds of meals are typically served, either on-site or delivered to people in Havre de Grace and the surrounding communities.
“We still are looking for volunteers, especially those who would like to deliver,” Don Osman, chair of Community Projects’ Thanksgiving dinner committee, said Wednesday.
Anyone who wants to volunteer should call Osman at 410-939-5412 or 443-243-7493, or show up at the community center around 10 a.m. the day of the event.
People are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item that will later be donated to a local food pantry, Osman said.
There will be a brief tribute to the late Rich Holly, a key Thanksgiving dinner organizer who died earlier this year, at 10 a.m.Thursday, Osman said.
American Legion Susquehanna Post 135 in Perryville will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving for a free dinner for veterans, active-duty military, first responders and American Legion members and their families.
The post is at 300 Cherry St. in Perryville.
Guests can eat in or get a carry-out dinner. Anyone who wants a carry-out meal should call the post ahead of time at 410-642-2771, according to coordinator Dana Tipton.
Tipton, whose relatives were in the military, is a member of the Sons of the American Legion Post 135 in Perryville. He sponsors the annual dinner, which has been happening for about four years, through his business, East Coast Pool Service.
The ladies auxiliary of Legion Post 135 donates the post hall and kitchen for the dinner, Tipton said.
Tipton, a resident of Perryville, said many veterans live in town, especially with the Perry Point VA Medical Center nearby.
“There’s lots of vets around town, and it gives them a place to go on Thanksgiving, maybe sit down and have some camaraderie and a nice meal,” Tipton said of the dinner.
Hope in Action Ministry will host its eighth annual dinner from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the Bel Air Armory at 37 N. Main St.
Organizers expect to serve 150 to 200 meals to people in need, according to Bonnie Prater, the volunteer leader of Hope in Action.
“We will be providing, also, a bag of nonperishables after they eat,” she said Wednesday.
Hope in Action is an outreach ministry of White Marsh-based Central Christian Church, which holds Sunday services at its main White Marsh campus and at the Armory.
A number of church members are volunteering at the community Thanksgiving dinner, according to Prater.
“I have already got more than enough volunteers, thank you Lord,” she said.
Anyone who wants to eat Sunday “can just show up” between 1 and 3:30 p.m., Prater said.
Spirit of Giving
Saint Margaret Parish, of Bel Air, will not host its community dinner this year, but volunteers are encouraged to take part in the Havre de Grace dinner, according to a notice posted on the parish website.
Kathy Reilly, a public relations associate for Saint Margaret, confirmed the parish will not host the dinner this year — the parish hosted its fifth annual dinner in 2016, and it partnered with New Hope Baptist Church of Bel Air.
Reilly said Saint Margaret will continue its traditional Thanksgiving Spirit of Giving, through which the parish or individual parishioners adopt more than 300 local families in need.
Volunteers will be on hand Sunday morning, starting at 7 a.m., in the Callahan Center in the parish’s Saint Mary Magdalen Mission on East Churchville Road, preparing boxes and then delivering them to families, Reilly said.
The boxes include a turkey, all the fixings needed to make a Thanksgiving meal, and other food items such as fresh vegetables.
Volunteers are scheduled to deliver the boxes between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday, according to a notice posted on the website. Anyone who wants to volunteer can contact the parish at 410-879-2670 or lead organizer Janet Gentry at 410-838-0186 by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It’s a big project,” Gentry, a Saint Margaret parishioner who has been heading up Spirit of Giving for about 25 years, said Thursday.
She said collections of food start at the end of October, and the items are sorted and boxed starting then — Sunday’s event is the completion of the boxing.
“That’s when we put in some fruits and vegetables and turkey,” Gentry said.
The Spirit of Giving program, which Gentry said involves hundreds of volunteers, extends to Christmas. The same families adopted for Thanksgiving get a Christmas box filled with donate food and gifts.