To make sure everyone on the North Shore gets to share in Thanksgiving, several local restaurants, churches, nonprofits and fraternal organizations will serve free dinners on Thursday, Nov. 25.
A number of these entities are also asking for donations of food or money that will help them to serve those dinners, or for volunteers willing to share their time to make deliveries or clear tables.
The Moose Lodge, at 50 Grove St. in Salem, serves dinner on premises and also works with the Council on Aging to get free dinners to elderly citizens of Salem. Phil Boltas, Lodge administrator, welcomes anyone who needs a meal delivered to call 978-744-9708, but adds that it would help him if calls were placed by Nov. 22, when the lodge orders its food.
The Moose made 150 deliveries last year, and served a full turkey dinner to about 100 people at the Lodge.
Also in Salem, Tavern in the Square at 160 Washington St. will feed seniors, the homeless and families in need from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is the second year the restaurant has served free Thanksgiving dinners, using donations from restaurant supplier U.S. Foodservice, and they have extended their invitation to dinner to citizens of Lynn and Peabody through city halls.
Restaurant staff will be donating their time, and anyone who would like to help them may call 978-740-2337.
Paula Diaz, coordinator at Haven from Hunger at 71 Wallace St. in Peabody, said they will be serving "a great spread" provided by Food Bank of Boston and prepared by Henry's Market in Beverly from noon to 2 p.m. Diaz said Haven has been serving free Thanksgiving dinners "off and on forever," and they "bag up the leftovers and give them to Meals on Wheels for people who can't make it in."
She said everyone is welcome. "No questions asked," Diaz said. "I don't care where they come from."
Debbie Marticio, owner of Ma Duke's Pizza, Seafood and More at 139 Maple St. in Danvers, said "it's been tough with donations" this year, because "it's tough for everybody." But she hopes the public will be able to donate turkeys, hams, desserts or money that will help her provide the free holiday meal.
Marticio already has orders for 207 deliveries across the region, and anyone willing to help make those deliveries, or to work in the restaurant, should call her at 978-777-6400. Marticio, who expects to feed over 750 people this year, starts serving at "8 or 9 o'clock in the morning" and doesn't stop until "everybody's fed."
The John T. Heard Masonic Lodge in Ipswich already serves Dinner Bells, free meals provided by several local churches, every other Monday in its hall at 70 Topsfield Road.
They started serving free Thanksgiving dinners on their own last year and, as with the Dinner Bells, offers them to "whoever walks in the door," said lodge member John Clogston. They fed more than 100 people last year and will serve "turkey — what else?" along with "all kinds of vegetables, squash, potatoes, stuffing, the whole nine yards" again this year from noon to 3 p.m.
St. Peter's Church, at 4 Ocean St. in Beverly, welcomes everyone to Thanksgiving dinner, but "especially those who might otherwise be alone on the holiday."
The free meal will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. To make this happen, volunteers are needed in three shifts: Wednesday, Nov. 24, from 6 to 9 p.m., to set up and do food preparations; from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday, Nov. 25, to prepare the meal; and from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, to serve and clean up.
To volunteer, e-mail email@example.com or call 978-922-3438. Also, non-perishable food donations are welcome and can be dropped off Sunday mornings at the Church, or on Thursday, Nov. 25, after 9 a.m. Donated pies can be dropped off Wednesday night, Nov. 24, or Thursday morning after 9 a.m. Cash donations are also welcome.