Miami Valley Meals to provide 15,000 dinners day before Thanksgiving

People braved a cold and chilly morning to line up for free Thanksgiving meals in November 2020.  MARSHALL GORBY/STAFF

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People braved a cold and chilly morning to line up for free Thanksgiving meals in November 2020. MARSHALL GORBY/STAFF

Feast of Giving, Dayton’s longtime Thanksgiving tradition, canceled due to pandemic.

A longtime Dayton Thanksgiving meal tradition has been canceled again due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but individual dinners will be offered.

Miami Valley Meals will distribute frozen Thanksgiving dinners in partnership with Feast of Giving on Wednesday, Nov. 24, the day before Thanksgiving. The Feast of Giving, which for years was held at the former Hara Arena and later at the Dayton Convention Center, also was canceled last year.

Meals will be distributed at the University of Dayton Arena, Trotwood-Madison High School, Omega Baptist Church and the Dayton Boys & Girls Club. Food distribution at UD Arena and the high school will be from 9 a.m. to noon. Meals at the Omega Baptist Church and the Dayton Boys & Girls Club will be distributed between noon and 3 p.m. and run by the Dayton Young Black Professionals.

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Amanda DeLotelle, executive director of Miami Valley Meals, a nonprofit started during the pandemic by local chefs to feed people, said the event is first-come, first serve, and the organization expects to give out about 15,000 meals. People do not need to sign up ahead of time to get meals, she said.

Volunteer sign-ups will be announced in the next few weeks, Miami Valley Meals said in a press release.

DeLotelle said the plan is to have turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, gravy and mashed potatoes, with pumpkin muffins for dessert. The dinner will be frozen and in a container that can be put in a microwave or oven.

Miami Valley Meals culinary team will be creating these meals with the assistance of a few regular volunteers. The youth chefs of Lindy’s at Daybreak will be preparing dessert.

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“Because of logistic issues with shipping and everything, we might have to tweak, you know, a gravy a different way or something like that,” DeLotelle said.

She added the meal, “will absolutely be Thanksgiving themed.”

The event is called Thanksgiving Turkey Takeaway.

Dr. Stephen Levitt, team member of the Feast of Giving, said the program is pleased that the meals can still be served to people. The Feast of Giving donated more than $59,000 to Miami Valley Meals for the event, he said.

Levitt said there was no practical and safe way to have around 10,000 people, which was the size of the event in 2019, gather in the Dayton Convention Center to eat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, he said he hopes to get Feast of Giving back in-person soon.

“We want one day to get back to the convention center, and have a community event, because it’s not just to feed indigent people,” Levitt said. “It’s to bring people from all over Dayton who want to celebrate the holiday with other Daytonians.”

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