Area charities, churches plan to feed Thanksgiving dinner to thousands

FORT WORTH -- The Salvation Army's recipe for a tummy-filling, memorable Thanksgiving Dinner includes 120 turkeys, 500 pounds of dressing and 40 gallons of gravy.

If that seems like a huge amount for a Thanksgiving Day dinner, that's because the Salvation Army aims to feed more than 2,000 people this holiday season at shelters in Fort Worth and Dallas.

"Everybody's invited," said Pat Patey, Salvation Army spokesman.

Ensuring that people and families enjoy a Thanksgiving meal complete with trimmings is the calling of several area ministries, nonprofit groups and churches. Dinners are being planned at various locations to help homeless people or struggling families enjoy a Thanksgiving-style dinner.

"It's expensive to buy a turkey and everything that goes into it," Patey said, adding that they cook the meal, serve it and clean up.

Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County expects to feed hundreds during meals planned for the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and on Thanksgiving Day.

Last year, the Salvation Army served Thanksgiving meals to 2,150 people. It expects to serve close to the same amount this year.

The Salvation Army's ingredient list totaled about $6,300. Besides the turkey and dressing, the Salvation Army will serve 600 pounds of mashed potatoes, 2,200 rolls, 275 pumpkin pies and 200 pounds of cranberry sauce. Did we mention the green beans and sweet potatoes?

Tillie Burgin, executive director of Mission Arlington/Mission Metroplex, said it is putting together about 6,000 boxes to be delivered Thanksgiving Day. Burgin said they will also serve a dinner to hundreds who shouldn't have to choose between bills and buying Thanksgiving food.

"We try to make sure everybody has something," Burgin said. "People can hold on to their rent money if they don't have to buy a turkey."

Patey echoed that sentiment: "It's hard choices that people have to make. We would rather they come and eat with us and not have expenses."

Diane Smith, 817-390-7675

Twitter: @dianeasmith1