Last year Ms. Bettys Harvest Madsgiving made 500 meals for families in need.

Courtesy Tajahi Cooke

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Thanksgiving requires action. For many, it’s eating and drinking (a lot), traveling, meeting family and friends – and giving thanks. Thanksgiving is different this year, but it can still be full of action. One way to stay busy is by volunteering.

Here are five volunteer options with organizations that provide meals to those in need. Note: COVID-related restrictions may limit volunteer opportunities as social distancing is required. Check with organizations beforehand about their health and safety practices.

The Epworth Foundation

1865 Bruce Randolph Avenue
303-296-6287

The Epworth Foundation hosts Feed-A-Family each year in honor of “Daddy” Bruce Randolph and his tradition of feeding people starving on Thanksgiving. Randolph was best known for his daddy Bruce’s Bar-BQ restaurant, founded in 1963, and his annual restaurant, City Park’s Thanksgiving Dinner, began in the late 1960s. After Randolph’s death in 1994, the tradition was carried on by Epworth United Methodist Church and the Epworth Foundation. This year, the organization plans to feed 10,000 families on Friday, November 20 and Saturday, November 21, but instead of cooking and serving a meal to sit on as in previous years, the volunteers are packing meals in Thanksgiving baskets. Epworth is looking for volunteers these days to help load baskets into recipients’ cars and deliver baskets to families and individuals who cannot drive. Time slot registrations are available on the Epworth Foundation website. If this year proves to be too difficult to show up in person, cash donations can be made online to help sponsor families.

Ms. Betty’s Harvest Madsgiving

970-627-1410

For the second year running, Chef Tajahi Cooke and wife Danielle Cooke are cooking Thanksgiving meals for those in need. The Madsgiving event recognizes the kind of collaboration that Tajahi Cooke’s grandmother, Ms. Betty, has always encouraged. “A hand can’t clap, a wing can’t flap, but together we can fly,” said Cooke, and that spirit has expanded the operation from 500 meals last year to 2,000 this year. Although voluntary options are currently full the Broadway Market, Junction Food & Drink, and Grand Lake distribution locations, the team continues to accept monetary donations. Meals include a chef’s jerk chicken or roast turkey main course, plus sides of candied pumpkins and fried potatoes, mac and cheese, fried vegetables, cranberry sauce with seared thyme and Hawaiian buns, and a dessert with honey pumpkin pie. Sponsor a meal for $ 7 or more.

The table

2190 South Platte River Drive
720-465-4421

The Table is an urban agriculture initiative based on providing locally grown food to people with food insecurity, including preparing Thanksgiving dinners. The organization’s takeaway meals are prepared by Chef Andrew Curtis Forlines and can be picked up on Thanksgiving Day. Families can buy meals for themselves, knowing that the funds will support healthy eating programs, or they can buy meals for members of the community who are struggling. Meals include roast turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes with turkey sauce, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, butter buns, and pumpkin pie. Dinners can be ordered from the table’s website for $ 20 per person. The table is also looking for ten volunteers to help with the distribution from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm on Thanksgiving Day. If you are interested, send an email to Korinne at [email protected]

The Denver Rescue Mission will be packing meals for families and individuals on this Thanksgiving Day.EXPAND

The Denver Rescue Mission will be packing meals for families and individuals on this Thanksgiving Day.

Courtesy of the Denver Rescue Mission

Denver Rescue Mission’s Turkey Drive

1130 Park Avenue West
303-294-0157

For more than 128 years, the Denver Rescue Mission has prioritized the people affected by homelessness and addiction by providing food, shelter, and various rehabilitation and transition programs. The Mission has always held an annual turkey ride for Thanksgiving, and this year they’re back collecting donations and raising 15,000 turkeys for those in need. To help, volunteers can drop off a frozen turkey at one of three locations: 5725 East 39th Avenue (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday); 6090 Smith Road (8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily); and 1130 Park Avenue West (November 18-25, 8 am-6pm), or contributors can donate $ 15-20 (the approximate price of a turkey) online. Other ways to help include donating fixings (in the locations listed above) such as mashed potatoes and stuffing in boxes, as well as canned vegetables, yams, fruits, pumpkin, gravy, and cranberry sauce. The organization also encourages you to start your own fundraiser for donations and just spread it around.

Samaritan House

2301 Lawrence Street
720-799-9370

For the fourteenth time, the Catholic Charities’ Samaritan House, together with the Sheraton Denver Downtown and Westin Denver Downtown hotels, will serve a Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless on November 26th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Denver Shelter on 2301 Lawrence Street. The animal shelter provides the residents with food and provisions on a daily basis, but also combines them with social support, educational opportunities, transfers for employment and housing, and medical care. This harvest festival, Samaritan House, hopes to provide for at least 350 residents – both those who live in the facility and women who live under the protection of the Holy Rosary. Meals are served by both hotel staff and volunteers. To register, send an email to the Samaritan House volunteer coordinators at [email protected]

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Claire Duncombe is a journalist, photographer, multimedia storyteller and musician. As an intern at Westword, she is a graduate of CU Denver and a proud Philadelphia native.