Free Thanksgiving dinners offered for those in need
A host of churches, shelters and at least one restaurant will offer steaming hot plates of turkey and all the fixings Thanksgiving day for those in need.
Cafe Dejeuner owner Terry Swenson will once again offer his "Give Back to the Community" meal at his east Medford cafe. This will be his seventh year, after taking a break last year.
Swenson said he started the meal as a way to thank the community for supporting his business and to provide a turkey dinner for those in need.
Swenson has garnered donations from his vendors and other community businesses. A donation jar is also on the counter at his cafe for customers to donate prior to the holidays.
"We started it back in 2008 when the recession hit. The idea was it was tough times so we would help people out," Swenson said.
"Skipping last year, we hope we didn't lose a following," he said. "The attendance has gone up every year. Last (time) we served 150 to 170 people."
Here's a list of Thanksgiving dinners. All are open to the community and free:
• Cafe Dejeuner, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 1108 E. Main St., Medford.
• Phoenix Community Kitchen, 1 to 3 p.m., inside First Presbyterian Church, 121 W. Second St., Phoenix.
• Medford First Christian Church, 2 to 5 p.m., 1900 Crater Lake Ave., Medford.
• Real Life Church, 3 to 5 p.m., 2417 Avenue A, White City. Reservations are appreciated, at 541-830-4673.
• Medford Gospel Mission, 1:30 to 3 p.m., 125 W. Jackson St., Medford.
Hosting one of the largest Thanksgiving dinners in the valley, the Medford Gospel Mission will carve up two dozen turkeys cooked in a smoker provided by the Butcher Shop in Eagle Point.
"No one would leave hungry," said cook Brennen Armstrong. "We do dinner every night here, and it's always open to the public. When I first came here, I had never seen a mission that does stuff like we do, so it's pretty remarkable."
Both Armstrong and Swenson said their meals are "first come, first served." Swenson noted his cafe was was not large, but diners, if patient, will be well fed.
"If we get filled up and there's no place to sit, they can't get mad at us," he said.
"We promise no one will leave hungry, and it will be the usual sumptuous Thanksgiving feast."
Reach Medford freelance writer Buffy Pollock at firstname.lastname@example.org.