Five Thanksgiving Food Distribution Volunteer Opportunities

Last year, Ms. Betty’s Harvest Madsgiving made 500 meals for families in need.
Last year, Ms. Betty’s Harvest Madsgiving made 500 meals for families in need.
Courtesy of Tajahi Cooke
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Thanksgiving requires action. For many, it’s the act of eating and drinking (a lot), traveling, gathering with family and friends — and giving thanks. This year, Thanksgiving is different, but it still can be action-packed. One way to keep busy is by volunteering.

Here are five volunteer opportunities with organizations providing meals for those in need. Note: COVID-related restrictions may limit volunteer opportunities because of the need to socially distance; check with organizations in advance for their health and safety practices.

The Epworth Foundation

1865 Bruce Randolph Avenue

The Epworth Foundation hosts Feed-A-Family every year in honor of “Daddy" Bruce Randolph and his tradition of feeding people who are hungry on Thanksgiving. Randolph was known for his Daddy Bruce’s Bar-B-Q restaurant, started in 1963, and his annual Thanksgiving dinner in City Park, begun in the late 1960s. After Randolph died, in 1994, the tradition was continued by Epworth United Methodist Church and the Epworth Foundation. This year the organization aims to feed 10,000 families on Friday, November 20, and Saturday, November 21, but instead of cooking and serving a sit-down meal, as in years past, volunteers will pack up meals in Thanksgiving baskets. Epworth is looking for volunteers on those days to help load baskets into recipients' cars, and to deliver baskets to families and individuals who can’t drive. Sign-ups for time slots are available on the Epworth Foundation website. If showing up in person proves too difficult this year, monetary donations can be made online to help sponsor families.

Ms. Betty’s Harvest Madsgiving


For the second year in a row, chef Tajahi Cooke and his wife, Danielle Cooke, are cooking up Thanksgiving meals for those in need. The Madsgiving event honors the kind of collaboration Tajahi Cooke’s grandmother, Ms. Betty, always promoted. "One hand cannot clap, one wing cannot flap, but together we can fly,” was her favored saying, according to Cooke, and that spirit has grown the operation from making 500 meals last year to aiming for 2,000 this year. Although volunteer options for the Broadway Market, Junction Food & Drink, and Grand Lake distribution locations are currently full, the team is still accepting monetary donations. The meals include a main entree of the chef's jerk chicken or roast turkey; side options of candied pumpkins, roast potatoes, mac and cheese, roast veggies, burned-thyme cranberry sauce and Hawaiian rolls; and a honey pumpkin pie dessert. Sponsor one meal for $7 or sponsor several.

The Table

2190 South Platte River Drive

An urban farming initiative based on providing locally grown food for people experiencing food insecurity, The Table will also be cooking Thanksgiving dinners. The organization's to-go meals will be whipped up by chef Andrew Curtis Forlines and will be available for pick-up on Thanksgiving Day. Families can purchase meals for themselves — knowing that the funds will support programs about healthy food and nutrition — or they can buy meals for community members who are struggling. The meals will include roast turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, dinner rolls with butter, and pumpkin pie. Dinners can be ordered from the Table's website for $20 per person. The Table is also looking for ten volunteers to assist with distribution from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. If interested, email Korinne at kruhnke19@gmail.com.

The Denver Rescue Mission will be boxing meals for families and individuals this Thanksgiving.EXPAND
The Denver Rescue Mission will be boxing meals for families and individuals this Thanksgiving.
Courtesy of Denver Rescue Mission

Denver Rescue Mission’s Turkey Drive

1130 Park Avenue West

For more than 128 years, the Denver Rescue Mission has prioritized serving those experiencing homelessness and addiction by providing food and shelter and various rehabilitation and transitional programs. For Thanksgiving, the mission has always hosted an annual turkey drive, and this year they’re at it again, raising funds and sourcing 15,000 turkeys for those in need. To help, volunteers can drop off a frozen turkey to one of three locations: 5725 East 39th Avenue (Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.); 6090 Smith Road (every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.); and 1130 Park Avenue West (November 18 to 25 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.), or contributors can donate $15 to $20 (the approximate price of a turkey) online. Other ways to help include donating fixings (to the above locations) such as boxed mashed potatoes and stuffing, as well as canned vegetables, yams, fruit, pumpkin, gravy and cranberry sauce. The organization also encourages you to start your own fundraiser for donations and to simply spread the word.

Samaritan House

2301 Lawrence Street

For the fourteenth year, Catholic Charities’ Samaritan House is pairing with Sheraton Denver Downtown and Westin Denver Downtown hotels to serve Thanksgiving dinner for those experiencing homelessness, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on November 26 at the Denver shelter at 2301 Lawrence Street. The shelter provides residents with food and board on a daily basis, but also connects them with social service assistance, educational opportunities, referrals for employment and housing and medical care. This Thanksgiving, Samaritan House hope to serve at least 350 residents — both those staying at the facility and women residing at the Holy Rosary shelter. The meals will be served by both hotel staff and volunteers. To sign up to help, email Samaritan House volunteer coordinators at shdvolunteers@ccdenver.org.

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