Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service

Where To Get Free Meals For Thanksgiving

And how you can help: where you can donate food.

By , Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service - Nov 20th, 2021 02:40 pm
Though some in-person Thanksgiving feasts have returned this year, the Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center is hosting a drive-through community harvest festival this year. This picture is from 2019. Photo provided by Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center/NNS.

Though some in-person Thanksgiving feasts have returned this year, the Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center is hosting a drive-through community harvest festival this year. This picture is from 2019. Photo provided by Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center/NNS.

We’ve compiled a list of turkey and dinner giveaways before Thanksgiving, meals available on Thanksgiving Day and how you can donate your money or time to support these efforts. 

Turkey and dinner giveaways before Thanksgiving

Free turkey, veggies and sides at the Dominican Center: Thursday, Nov. 18

The Dominican Center is hosting a turkey giveaway from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18 in its parking lot, 2470 W. Locust St. The first 100 people to visit will receive a free turkey, veggies and sides courtesy of a donation from Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin. 

Free turkey and food box for 53208 and 53210 residents: Thursday, Nov. 18

The Jewish Community Pantry will be distributing 175 turkeys and food boxes from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday Nov. 18 at its location, 2900 W. Center St. The turkeys and food boxes will be distributed on a first come, first served basis. The distribution is open to residents of the 53208 and 53210 ZIP codes.

Drive-through dinner giveaway at the Isaac Coggs Heritage Health Center: Friday, Nov. 19

Milwaukee Health Services will be distributing Thanksgiving dinner boxes from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19 at 8200 W. Silver Spring Drive. The drive-through distribution will continue while supplies last. Only one dinner per household, two per car maximum. Mask required.

Free turkey for 53206 residents: Saturday, Nov. 20

Heaven’s Tot Lot, a child care center, will be distributing 150 turkeys starting at 10 a.m. Saturday at its location, 2400 W. Capitol Dr. Turkeys are available to residents in the 53206 ZIP code only. An ID or piece of mail showing residence in 53206 is required.

Free turkey and gift card if you get a COVID vaccine or booster shot: Saturday, Nov. 20

The Hunger Task Force and United Healthcare will give away a turkey and a Pick n’ Save gift card to those who get their first, second or booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine on site. This event runs from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 20 at the intersection of West Silver Spring Drive and North 68th Street. Shingles and flu shots will be available as well.

Thanksgiving meals at The Gathering: Saturday, Nov. 20

The Gathering of Southeast Wisconsin, a nonprofit meal distribution organization, will be serving a Thanksgiving dinner at three of its locations from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 20. Participating locations are at Running Rebels, 1300 W. Fond du Lac Ave.; Ascension Lutheran Church, 1236 S. Layton Blvd.; and Our Next Generation Neighborhood Center, 3421 W. Lisbon Ave.

Turkey Trot: Fun Run & Walk: Saturday, Nov. 20

Join the Urban Ecology Center for a “casual” 5k run or walk at Washington Park, starting from the Urban Ecology Center’s location within the park, 1859 N. 40th St. Bring nonperishable food items to donate. The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 20. Register here.
Drive-through Community Harvest Feast: Tuesday, Nov. 23

As part of Native American Heritage Month, the Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center will be distributing harvest feasts to-go from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 23 at its location at 930 W. Historic Mitchell St. Choose a main meal, traditional sides, pie and cider and receive a harvest meal goodie bag that includes harvest décor, traditional medicine, and a prayer. Masks required.

Free turkey and carry-out dinner for Harambee neighborhood: Wednesday, Nov. 24

Harambee community member and retiree Helen Dixon will be giving away 25 frozen turkeys and at least 25 free meals at the Victory Garden Initiative, 249 E. Concordia Ave. Meals will be available for pick-up starting at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 24, and distribution will continue while supplies last.

Where to find food on Thanksgiving Day

Community Feast and Winter Clothing Giveaway: free food, winter clothes and community

Receive a free Thanksgiving meal, groceries and winter items such as coats, hats, gloves and socks at the Community Thanksgiving Feast 2021, presented by County Supervisor Sequanna Taylor, Dream Team United MKE and Parklawn Assembly of God. This event will run from noon to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 25 in a heated tent on the empty lot on North 35th Street and West Center Street.

For food pantries: text your ZIP code to 898-211

IMPACT 2-1-1 will still be operational over the holiday weekend and will have the latest information on which food pantries are open, some of which may not be listed here. If you are looking for a food pantry, text your ZIP Code to TXT-211 [898-211].

Looking to help? Here’s how

The food pantries listed below reported that they are fully staffed for Thanksgiving day but are looking for volunteers for other days before or after the holiday.

Friedens Community Pantries is looking for volunteers to deliver groceries and pick up food from grocery stores to transport to the pantries. Sign up to volunteer here. Donations can be made here.

St. Vincent de Paul operates two kitchens, one at 931 W. Madison St. and one at 2600 N. 2nd St. Sign up to volunteer here. Donations can be made here.

Neighborhood House is accepting in-kind donations through Wednesday, Nov. 24. Officials say they are “especially in need of potatoes (canned or fresh), yams/sweet potatoes (canned or fresh), stuffing mix, bread, canned biscuits/rolls, gravy mix or canned gravy, and various household and sanitary items (toilet paper, paper towel, feminine hygiene products, etc.)” 

Capuchin Community Services is accepting volunteers at both its House of Peace and St. Ben’s locations. See volunteer opportunities for House of Peace, located at 1702 W. Walnut See volunteer opportunities for St. Ben’s, located at 930 W. State St., here. 

Here’s where you can find free meals for Thanksgiving was originally published by the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service.

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