Local nonprofits are in need of at least 275 frozen turkeys and trimmings to supply Thanksgiving dinners for the hungry and homeless. Volunteers are needed to help serve dinners and provide assistance at drive-thru and dine-in events for the Gospel Rescue Mission and the Salvation Army Tucson. For more information, visit grmtucson.com or salvationarmytucson.org.

As Tucsonans prepare to count their blessings this Thanksgiving, several nonprofits are counting on support from the community to provide free dinners for the hungry and homeless.

First up is the Gospel Rescue Mission, which needs 200 turkeys and all the trimmings along with 200 volunteers to help with the Annual “Blessings to Go” Dine-in and Drive-Through feast from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23, at H.S. Lopez Family Foundation Center of Opportunity, 4550 S. Palo Verde Road.

The celebration expects to serve at least 2,000 meals to community members in need, according to Doug Martin, CEO of Good News Communications and a long-time supporter of the Gospel Rescue Mission.

“There are many working people who are not desperate but may find themselves in tough situations because of inflation … their food and gas bills have gone sky high. These working people can come through — many will take advantage of the drive-thru — and get what they need,” said Martin.

Martin said the event provides opportunities for people to gift time as well as turkeys through food preparation as well as serving meals indoors and drive-thru distribution.

“I have friends who make it an annual tradition to volunteer with their kids. We want to train up our children to be givers and kids who haven’t been in situations where they need help may not understand what people go through. It is good for our kids to see that,” he said.

Salvation Army meal

The Salvation Army Tucson also offers both in-kind and volunteer philanthropic options during its Thanksgiving Dinner & Drive-Thru from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 1145 E. Fort Lowell Road.

“For many people, this may be the only Thanksgiving meal they get. Along with the drive-thru, we are happy to get back to a dine-in event as we have done in the past. We think it is a very good thing to see people again and have dinner in-person; being able to serve them is a great for all of us,” said Capt. Christopher Kim, city coordinator for Salvation Army Tucson. Kim said the Salvation Army served about 750 people in 2021, and he is expecting attendance to be even higher this year. He said that the combination of rising inflation and increased housing costs has left many people on the streets.

“We have so many people in need. Plus we just lost a $20,000 funding grant from the city of Tucson for motel vouchers for people to use after they leave our shelters. People can only stay in our shelters for 21 days, and then they have to move out. Since we lost the grant, we don’t know what they will do, and many people are sitting in our parking lots because they have no place to go. We are looking for motel partnerships and anyone willing to come alongside and help us out,” said Kim.

The holiday season is here and that might include making sure you have the tools you need in order to celebrate such joyous holidays as Thanksgiving. Buzz60’s Mercer Morrison has the story.

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Contact freelance writer Loni Nannini at ninch2@comcast.net