Places serving up free Thanksgiving meals in the Chippewa Valley

Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 6:43 AM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -Three community organizations are ensuring everyone can enjoy the holiday by offering Thanksgiving feasts at no cost to the community.

Hope Gospel Mission, Saving Grace Lutheran Church, and The Community Table will be offering free meals on Thanksgiving day with the goal of filling people’s hearts and stomachs.

Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin treats. All the staples of a classic Thanksgiving meal will be available at three Chippewa Valley organizations.

“Nowadays with inflation, people don’t always have the finances to be able to have a Thanksgiving dinner with their families and it’s important to celebrate,” Public Relations Coordinator of Hope Gospel Mission, Evening Snow said.

Hope Gospel Mission, a Christ-centered nonprofit dedicated to helping people with homelessness, financial struggles, or addiction will be opening their doors from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. to dish out a feast on Thursday. The meal will be at the Hope Renewal Center for Men at 2650 Mercantile Drive in Eau Claire.

“We are so excited to have everyone come join us,” Snow said. “They can come in for dine-in, sit down, see smiling faces, enjoy a free Thanksgiving meal, or if they are in a rush and they want to get some food and enjoy it with their families, they can come through the drive-thru.”

Snow said Hope Gospel has offered this meal for a long time thanks to the hard work of volunteers. She said this year they will be preparing over 30 turkeys and expect around 800 guests.

Another holiday feast will be offered at Saving Grace Lutheran Church for the 6th year. The meal will be at the church’s new location at 3735 Jeffers Road in Eau Claire. The annual meal was launched by one of the church’s members, Allison Otto, who started the event when she was 18.

“I was blessed growing up having a Thanksgiving meal every year with my family members and I wanted other people to experience that,” Otto said.

People can gather at the church between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We’ve had church members come in because they are husband and wife and don’t really want to cook a full meal for themselves….and we’ve had more families come in because it’s just easier to get together,” Otto said.

Otto said they will be preparing to welcome 1,000  people this year with dine-in and a to-go option. She said volunteers spend a whole week before the meal prepping.

The Community Table, located at 320 Putnam Street will also be hosting a free meal from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Director of The Community Table, T.J. Atkins, said it’s important to offer a space where people can gather for the holiday.

“We’ll have Thanksgiving cards,” Atkins said. “We’ll have one elementary school making us centerpieces, so all the tables will be decorated. We had another group do placemats so those will be out as well. So, it’s just going to be a really nice event.”