Thanksgiving Day brings about the desire for camaraderie, good food and a hearty celebration, and several free community meals Thursday will help make that desire a reality.
The 15th annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. at Norwood United Methodist Church at the corner of Oakwood Avenue and Colegate Drive in Marietta.
Tom Insley, chairman of the committee that organized the event, said turnout for dinner is usually high. Several churches work together to put on the event.
"We usually have right around 150 people at the church," he said. "We usually send out about 250 meals for delivery."
Insley said the dinner is a good way for the churches to give back.
"It gives all the churches in the area great satisfaction," Insley said. "It's a great fellowship for people to come in, sit down, eat and stay for however long they want."
If you go
Free Thanksgiving dinners:
Jukebox Pizza, 650 Main St., Waterford
When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Norwood United Methodist Church, corner of Oakwood Avenue and Colegate Drive, Marietta.
When: Noon to 1:30 p.m.
Cornerstone Ministries and Emergency Homeless Shelter, 27375 Ohio 7, Reno; On the left approximately four-tenths of a mile north of the traffic light at the Ohio 7 and Sand Hill Road intersection.
When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
American Legion General George Post 159, 201 Central Ave., Williamstown.
When: 1 to 4 p.m.
The menu will include a traditional Thanksgiving meal; there will be stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, rolls and pumpkin pie, but guests can choose between turkey or ham.
Reservations and dinner delivery are available by contacting the church at 374-5606 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Turkey Dinner RSVP." Reservations can be made up until 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
Jukebox Pizza, 650 Main St., Waterford, will serve its fifth annual free Thanksgiving Day lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The lunch got its start as a way to give back to the community, the business owners have said. More than 400 people attended last year.
The lunch includes all the traditional wares: turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, noodles, green beans, stuffing, rolls, sweet potato casserole and a dessert. Local delivery is available for those in need; just call Jukebox at 984-8881.
Since 2004, the American Legion General George Post 159 in Williamstown has been serving up free Thanksgiving meals.
The annual Community Free Thanksgiving dinner will be served buffet style by volunteers from the Post, the Auxiliary, Sons of American Legion and community members. All members of Post 159 and residents served by the Williamstown School District are welcome to attend.
Meals will be served from 1 to 4 p.m. and can also be picked up or delivered. Call Post 159 before Thanksgiving Day to schedule a delivery: 304-375-5997.
The Cornerstone Ministries and Emergency Homeless Shelter on Ohio 7 in Reno will host its 27th annual free Thanksgiving dinner.
"We were the first ministry ever in the area to offer a community Thanksgiving dinner," said Pastor Vonda Lee, executive director of Cornerstone, adding that it was an exciting time when other area churches started doing their own dinner.
"We're excited to see people put their faith into action," Lee said.
She credits the success of the dinner and its long operation time of 27 years to faith.
"It's our faith," Lee said. "It's in His name that we do this."
Lee said that while many of the guests at the Cornerstone dinner are "the homeless, the lost and the wanderers," anyone is free to come get a bite to eat.
"Many just want the fellowship," Lee said. "They want to come, sit and eat a meal in fellowship."
Lee has asked that those attending the dinner make reservations by 5 p.m. Wednesday by calling 374-5381. Food can also be delivered if requested by the reservation deadline.
"If someone's hungry, they can come get a meal," Lee said. "We want to help."