The Whiteaker Free Thanksgiving Dinner is celebrating its 26th anniversary Nov. 27, 2014. It began in 1978 and continued yearly after 1988. The event has become a Eugene institution.
I learned about the Whiteaker Free Thanksgiving Dinner when I was on the board for the Oregon Country Fair, which donates $1,000 toward the purchase of new socks to the cause every year. Since then, I’ve spent several Thanksgiving holidays volunteering at the dinner.
More than 90 community organizations and businesses, along with hundreds of volunteers, come together each November to feed more than 2,000 men, women and children a bounteous Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, with all the trimmings (or tofu for those of a non-meat persuasion) is generously served in a cheerful environment. It’s great to see the community collaborate to make this holiday meaningful for so many people.
Activities for children abound, and massage therapy is even offered at no cost to dinner participants. Live music fills the large cafeteria dining room, previously belonging to the Whiteaker Elementary School and now occupied by the Whiteaker Community Head Start Program.
In addition, attendees may pick up donated clothing, blankets and sleeping bags.
If you’d like to be part of this popular community event on Thursday, Nov. 27, dinner will be served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Clothing and camping supplies will be distributed from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Whiteaker Community Head Start Center, 21 North Grand Ave., Eugene
Donations, sponsorships and volunteers are welcome. Find out more information at wcdinner.org.