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Free meals Thanksgiving morning and afternoon

Posted at 10:03 AM, Nov 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-26 10:03:10-05

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — A time to give thanks and enjoy some grub with the ones you love. If you haven’t made Thanksgiving plans yet and need a home-cooked meal, you’re in luck.

A day filled with fellowship and food.

Vann Ellison President and CEO of St. Matthews House says this year is different because of the pandemic.

“It’s more than just feeding a Thanksgiving meal. It’s giving that family a future,” he said.

But, when people pick up their dinner Thursday afternoon, his message will be the same.

“This is a tough time, but we’re getting through this together. They’re not alone,” he said.

Within the last week, St Matthew’s House has handed out more than 4,500 turkeys and fixings. Ellison says that’s enough for 36,000 meals. Thursday they have enough food to feed at least two thousand more.

“We’re serving hot meals at our homeless shelter in Naples. The Campbell Lodge,” he said.

Even in the pandemic, Ellison says they’ve seen record-breaking contributions from the community.

“Last year we gave out less than half the number of holiday meals than we’re doing this year,” he said.

The coronavirus hasn’t stopped Community Cooperative in Fort Myers from living up to their name either. CEO Tracey Galloway says being there for the community is her priority.

“Pandemic or not, this is always a busy time of year,” said Galloway.

That’s why their soup kitchen doors are open Thursday, just like another other day of the week.

“It’s very important to us that we provide anybody who’s in need. Whether they need a hot meal or they need groceries that they can cook to prepare their own Thanksgiving meal,” she said.

They’ve handed out thousands of holiday meals this week and Thursday they’re prepared to serve upwards of 900 people.

They haven’t allowed indoor dining since March. But, you still have an option to eat there if you want.

“Rather than just giving them the food containers and sending them on their way, we’re actually going to pop up some tents in our parking lot and putting up some tables and chairs. So, that folks can sit outside,” she said.

Community Cooperative’s soup kitchen is open Thursday morning from 10:30 until 12:00 p.m. St. Matthews house will hand out hot to-go meals at the Campbell Lodge Shelter in Naples from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.