WATCH | Area organizations, churches offer free Thanksgiving meals

Volunteers cut trays of hams for the annual A Thanksgiving to Share at the Extension Homemakers Council kitchen at the Garland County Fairgrounds on Monday. The meal will be available for pickup or delivery at Roanoke Baptist Church, 238 Whittington Ave., LakePointe City Church, 1343 Albert Pike Road, and J.M. Langston Lodge No. 84, 357 Silver St. (The Sentinel-Record/Donald Cross)

A number of groups are offering free Thanksgiving Day meals on Thursday, as both in-person dining events or meals for pickup or delivery.

The Giving Team's A Thanksgiving to Share, which started 19 years ago, returns with some changes. While there will still be a delivery option, Visitors Chapel AME Church will not host the annual event.

Meals can be picked up at three locations across Hot Springs: Roanoke Baptist Church, 238 Whittington Ave.; LakePointe City Church, 1343 Albert Pike Road; and J.M. Langston Lodge No. 84, 357 Silver St.

All three locations will offer the same meals of turkey, dressing, ham, gravy, corn, green beans and a dessert, but only LakePointe will be offering sit-down meals.

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"We've always been on the east end of town, and people would tell me, 'Well, y'all don't have anything out here, and I can't get over there,' or they didn't call. Because it is a free dinner, we just wanted to reach as many people as we could," Janice Davis, who started the free meal nearly 20 years ago because her son was unable to visit for Thanksgiving due to his position as an NFL executive, said.

This year, The Giving Team has partnered with the Extension Homemakers Council to prepare all the meals at the EHC Kitchen at the Garland County Fairgrounds, Davis said, which gives them more preparation and storage space.

"Visitors (Chapel) has a nice kitchen, nice everything, but we needed the space," she said. "And EHC is huge. They have multiple ovens, and our big problem has always been storage. So ... they have the walk-in freezers. We've been able to store stuff out there."

To request delivery, call or text 501-485-4674.

Davis said around 1,500 meals were provided last year, and approximately 500 meals have already been ordered.

"There's poor people everywhere in Hot Springs, because I do Food for Thought," she said. "It's poor people everywhere. I thought about it, and I told my board that I just felt like we needed to do something different."

The eighth annual Community Thanksgiving at Hot Springs Transportation Depot will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday. James Whitten, who has helped organize the event each year, said Grace Church will again be joining in to help put on the event.

"Grace Church is involved again this year and (has) been very helpful," he said. "It's going to be a great event, and we have worked in veteran suicide awareness with the homeless angle as well this year."

In addition to the food, free tents and warm clothes will be available for the homeless community, he said. HoneyBaked of Hot Springs will also be involved in the event.

Gospel Light Baptist Church, 600 Garland St., will be holding its Thanksgiving Day Feast starting at 10 a.m. Meals can be delivered to those who call the church, 501-624-5288, and in-person meals will be available until around 1 p.m.

Grand Avenue United Methodist Church will be hosting its annual community Thanksgiving meal featuring turkey, dressing, sides and dessert Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the church fellowship hall.

  photo  Volunteers prepare hams for the annual A Thanksgiving to Share at the Extension Homemakers Council kitchen at the Garland County Fairgrounds on Monday. (The Sentinel-Record/Donald Cross)