CONCORD -- Every year for the past seven, Lynnette Campbell and volunteers from various churches prepare days in advance for Thanksgiving dinner for the needy.
These days, there are people with all sorts of needs -- from financial to emotional -- so the volunteers aim to serve them all again this year at First Lutheran Church.
"We want to invite not only the homeless and the destitute, but people who just want to enjoy a hot meal cooked with love on Thanksgiving Day," said Campbell, director of the Giving Thanks dinner program.
Thanks to donations from several local churches, there will be enough turkey and mashed potatoes "with all the fixins'" to feed about 200 people, Campbell said.
"Our idea was to create a homestyle meal where people actually sit down and not go through a line to get their food," she said. "The dinners can be quite festive with lively conversation. It's meant to get people into the holiday spirit."
Campbell said the event typically draws many volunteers -- more volunteers than visitors. She hopes this year to reach out to even more, including the elderly and the lonely who may not have a place to go this Thanksgiving. Volunteers will be able to provide transportation for residents who live locally.
"We want to tell people there are more days of the year to volunteer besides Thanksgiving," Campbell said.
Volunteers are also needed to help with cleanup after dinner, she said.
Other ways people can help include donating new socks of all sizes, and new or gently used blankets/sleeping bags, coats and gloves for distribution after the meal.
Donations can be dropped off at First Lutheran Church on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. until the day before Thanksgiving. Those unable to drop off donations during these hours may call 925-270-0984 and leave a message to arrange a drop off time, Campbell said.
"We're inviting people who are thinking about skipping the holiday altogether because they don't have a place to go for Thanksgiving to come and join us," she said. "It's better than being alone on Thanksgiving."
Monetary donations to offset the cost of the food may be made out to First Lutheran Church and brought or mailed to 4000 Concord Blvd., Concord, CA 94519.
What: Giving Thanks at Thanksgiving Dinner
When: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Nov. 22
Where: First Lutheran Church, 4000 Concord Blvd., Concord
Information: For transportation to the church, call 925-270-0984 and leave a message or send an email to GTatTG2012@yahoo.com