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Free Thanksgiving Meals Around the Ozarks

Springfield Rescue Mission

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, many charitable organizations around the Ozarks are hurrying to put the finishing touches on their free Thanksgiving dinner events. The goal is to give all who need them groceries or a warm meal and the company of others.

Council of Churches of the Ozarks Crosslines is one of those organizations.  It distributed meals Saturday, says Christine Moses, director of marketing and development.

“It is very important to our mission to ensure that people feel very good, have hope, and most definitely have time with family, even when they’re having a little bit of difficulties, to be able to have a Thanksgiving meal together.”

Crosslines has been distributing Thanksgiving meal baskets for nearly 50 years and planned to give away 8,500 dinners for Turkey Day this year. While an application is required to receive a meal basket, new applicants are accepted every year.  Those applications can be found at the Crosslines location.

The Salvation Army’s Harbor House is another organization looking to spread cheer this holiday season and plans to serve their free meal November 24th. Last year the organization provided nearly 300 meals for people in need and it’s looking to top that number this year, says Betty Shelton, managing director of Harbor House.

“It’s around 250-300 people we serve, so I’m hoping to have more than that because every year we try to out-do ourselves. We try to reach out and provide a hot meal and fellowship with anybody in the community that is in need. We open our doors and provide a hot meal and hopefully are able to warm somebody’s heart and spirit this holiday.”    

For Ozarks residents who would like to be involved, donations of holiday fixings for the Thanksgiving meal can be dropped off at the Harbor House, but the organization is full up on volunteers says Shelton. Thanks to the abundant number of volunteers for this year, Harbor House is able to expand their free meals to home-bound individuals.

Other free Thanksgiving meals around the Ozarks include: Reeds Spring Intermediate School on Thanksgiving day at 12p.m., Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Branson on Thanksgiving day from 5:30-8p.m. and Springfield Rescue Mission on November 25th at 4p.m.