2008-11-26 / Community

Church to host free Thanksgiving dinner

By Nancy Needham nancy@theacorn.com

There will be plenty of volunteers at Emmanuel Presbyterian Church's Community Thanksgiving Dinner tomorrow.

Church volunteer Jack Light says that's because those who helped feed those in need last year enjoyed it so much they're coming back for more.

"The reaction of volunteers who gave up their holiday was great," Light said.

Emmanuel Presbyterian Church of Thousand Oaks, 588 Camino Manzanas, is the Thursday night location for a meal program where homeless and hungry people can go throughout the year for a free meal and, from Dec. 1 to March 31, to spend the night. See related story on page 8.

The community dinner "began because we serve dinner on Thursday, and Thanksgiving is always on Thursday, so we were the place people came to," Light said.

The church began inviting children and their families from its Amigo tutoring program. As time went on, Manna, the locafood bank, helped to provide food, he said. "Now we're expecting abou200 people," he said.

"It's nice. Anyone who needs food and can't afford it can show up and eat Thanksgiving dinner," said Diana Ortuno, winter shelter manager. More than 50 people wilwork at the site during the dinner from noon to 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, or they'll be driving vans of people from pickup points, Light said.

Pickup points are at Manna, 3020 Crescent Way, and Lutheran Social Services, 80 E. Hillcrest Drive, Ste. 101.

Plenty of people have volunteered to serve, and one person is providing table decorations, Light said.

Donations of pies and of side dishes such as green bean casseroles, yams or carrots would be welcome, he said. Food can be brought to the church before noon.

Manna wants to collect about 1,000 turkeys for those in need. Uncooked turkeys can be dropped off at Manna when the food bank is open.

The phone number is (805) 497-4959.

"Nothing will go to waste. If we have extra food, we have people to give it to who need it," Light said.

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