12,000 Thanksgiving meals available at 5 sites Wednesday for those in need

Miami Valley Meals is distributing about 12,000 free Thanksgiving meals to five locations where people can pick them up Wednesday during the group’s annual Turkey Takeaway event, including a new location in Greene County.

The dinners include turkey or ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole and stuffing. They are distributed frozen, either in individual size or as a family-style meal meant to serve four people.

Miami Valley Meals is a nonprofit that provides frozen, chef-made meals to other organizations to feed the hungry. Those interested do not need to sign up ahead of time, but Wednesday is a first-come, first-serve event.

Distribution centers include Trotwood-Madison High School and University of Dayton Arena, distributing from 9 a.m. to noon; and Omega Baptist Church, Boys and Girls Club of Dayton and Fairborn Phoenix, distributing noon to 3 p.m.

Taylor Naragon, the marketing and development director at Miami Valley Meals, said all kinds of people are expected to come, as hunger doesn’t have a standard look for people across the Miami Valley. Families with young children may be struggling, just like some seniors living on a fixed income and people with disabilities.

“There are a lot of people who live alone,” Naragon said. “They might be on a fixed income and with inflation going up, that doesn’t really help.”

She said Miami Valley Meals is expecting a slight uptick in the number of meals needed this year, given that food costs have been particularly affected by inflation.

Last year, Naragon said some families were able to pick up food for a few days to last them through the holiday. Many kids from low-income families normally get free breakfast and lunch through their school, so they may need extra food to cover the holiday break.

The Turkey Takeaway is sponsored by the Feast of Giving, which has been covering most of the costs of preparing and distributing the meals since 2020. The past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the annual Feast of Giving to close, but this year, renovations on the Convention Center have prevented the continuation of the tradition.

Members of the Feast of Giving say they still plan to host the event in the future, but in the meantime, are happy to support the Turkey Takeaway.

“These meals are prepared, provided and served with dignity,” said Stephen Levitt, team member of the Feast of Giving.

The Feast of Giving began in 2009, and last occurred in 2019 at the Dayton Convention Center.

Naragon said so far, more than 80 volunteers have made the Turkey Takeaway possible. Volunteers are still needed for the day of distribution, mostly through their partners at the distribution sites, including Dayton Young Black Professionals and Omega Community Development Corporation.

The Wednesday giveaway is drive-up style, and guests are asked to stay in their cars and follow signs to distribution, Miami Valley Meals said. Volunteers will ask how many people are in the household and distribute food accordingly.

Wednesday meal pickup sites

9 a.m. to noon: Trotwood-Madison High School, 4440 N. Union Road, Trotwood;

9 a.m. to noon: University of Dayton Arena, 1801 S. Edwin Moses Blvd., Dayton;

Noon to 3 p.m.: Omega Baptist Church, 1821 Emerson Ave., Dayton;

Noon to 3 p.m.: Boys and Girls Club, 1828 W. Stewart St., Dayton;

Noon to 3 p.m.: Fairborn Phoenix, 34 S. Broad St., Fairborn.

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