Thanksgiving meals for those in need of food this year will look a little different, but demand remains high as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Restrictions on gatherings and social distancing rules mean limited options for traditional meals and volunteers at local food banks. Instead, multiple options for pre-boxed meals will be available. For those who want to help, plenty of organizations need donations.

The OIC of Washington won’t be able to hold its annual Thanksgiving community luncheon, so the organization gave out holiday food boxes Thursday. Henry Beauchamp Community Center Director Adrianne Garner said the center plans to give out its Thanksgiving food boxes on Friday.

A year ago, the Yakima Union Gospel Mission served three community meals on Thanksgiving to go along with boxed holiday dinners. On Thursday it will offer a noon meal for program residents and a boxed dinner at 2 p.m. for clients staying in their adult shelter and individuals or couples in the community, Vice President of Communications Mary Broussard said.

The mission’s typical Thanksgiving features 60 volunteers who help serve food in the dining room. COVID-19 restrictions will keep that closed this year and Broussard said they plan to set up additional seating in the day room.

“We cannot utilize volunteer teams larger than five people and have health screening requirements for anyone interested in lending a hand,” Broussard said in an email. “We will have food prep opportunities in one of our commercial kitchens, but there will be no contact or interaction with clients.”

She said the best way to help is through a financial gift, a sentiment echoed by Northwest Harvest senior manager of hunger response and distribution, Carmen Mendez. The statewide organization will continue to provide food regularly to its 50-plus partners in Central Washington.

Pasco-based Second Harvest plans to host its annual turkey drive at two locations in Yakima County on Monday. Anyone can show up at the drive-thru events with 600 food boxes at each site featuring a turkey and all the fixings. They will be offered from 9-11 a.m. at Sunnyview Park in Sunnyside and from 2-4 p.m. Yakima Valley College in Yakima.

Yakima Union Gospel Mission will have its own food box distribution in partnership with Stone Church Yakima. Families can register for a holiday food box by calling Gloria at 509-248-4510 and 600 boxes will be available for pickup in the Stone Church parking lot from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday.

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