Thanksgiving is a time for families to come together, share a feast and give thanks for their blessings.
Less fortunate local residents can partake of both holiday spirit and traditional foods during the annual Thanksgiving dinner offered by the Lawrence Interdenominational Nutrition Kitchen (LINK) or at a free breakfast offered by McDonald's on Sixth Street.
Pam Casagrande, LINK board chair, said the group will serve its eighth annual Thanksgiving dinner from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday at the First Christian Church, 1000 Ky. Volunteers also will deliver meals to homebound residents, whose names were reported by Douglas County Senior Services, Project Lively and local social service agencies.
CASAGRANDE SAID plenty of volunteers have agreed to serve the dinner and deliver the meals.
"I have had a wonderful response from the community," she said.
Fifteen families donated money for the turkeys, and the 26 religious and civic groups that regularly prepare LINK meals will provide the trimmings.
Last year, the organization delivered 105 Thanksgiving dinners and served 88 meals at the site. Casagrande said meals will be taken to at least 145 people, and she expects to see more than 100 guests at the dinner Thursday.
LINK also serves meals from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday and the last Friday of the month at the church. The Salvation Army provides meals Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
"THERE'S A great need out there other than at Thanksgiving," said Casagrande. "People don't just get hungry on Thanksgiving Day. It's really important to serve every day because there's no day when people aren't hungry."
In the last eight years, LINK has served more than 108,000 guests, she said.
McDonald's, 1309 W. Sixth, will offer a free Thanksgiving breakfast for low-income families with an invitation from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Thursday, said Sherri Cannon, executive director of the Ballard Center.
Cannon said invitations are available until 5:30 p.m. today at Ballard Center, 708 Elm, and until 5 p.m. today the Lawrence Indian Center, 15th and Haskell.