On a day known for copious amounts of food, many Bay Area residents struggling to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday will be able to eat a turkey dinner at no cost.
The Richmond restaurant Salute e Vita, located at 1900 Esplande Drive, is offering needy families and homeless residents in Contra Costa County a free sit-down meal as part of a three-year tradition.
Homeless guests are seated at tables with white tablecloths and served by the wait staff and volunteers—including some well-known dignitaries such as Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and Richmond police Chief Chris Magnus in past years.
The guests dine on a traditional turkey meal, with many of the turkeys donated by Richmond Wholesale. All the pumpkin pies are provided by Galaxy Desserts.
Last year 600 people enjoyed a holiday meal, and this year the restaurant hopes to feed 1,000.
Starting at 9 a.m. the restaurant will bring in diners to the restaurant on chartered buses from 12 pick-up sites throughout the East Bay.
Guests will then be returned by bus to community centers throughout the region.
This year all diners will receive a free flu shot after the meal, along with a goodie bag filled with toiletries, warm socks and scarves, and 10 coupons for a soup or sandwich from the restaurant.
Event organizers said there are enough volunteers signed up to serve the holiday meals, but donations for the free event can be made through a fund at the Mechanics Bank called the “Salute Thanksgiving Fund.”
Another restaurant in Mountain View is serving a free Thanksgiving dinner as part of a 24-year tradition at Ristorante Don Giovanni, at 235 Castro St.
Every year the restaurant gives away traditional turkey dinners between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., with lines often forming down the block.
More free holiday goods are being offered in Livermore at the 31st annual Thanksgiving Dinner at the Bothwell Center between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
The center is located at 2466 Eighth St.
The meal is provided by the Livermore-based nonprofit group Open Heart Kitchen.
Glide Memorial in San Francisco is known for serving thousands for free breakfast and Thanksgiving dinner throughout Turkey Day.
A 10 a.m. celebration will be held at the Glide Sanctuary, at 330 Ellis St. in San Francisco, with the Rev. Cecil Williams.
Oakland’s Allen Temple Baptist Church is opening its doors to all for a Thanksgiving Dinner between 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.
The free meal is an annual tradition at the church located at 8501 International Blvd. in Oakland.
A Thanksgiving Dinner for seniors has been organized by the Peninsula Hills Women’s Club for three decades.
Elderly residents without family to celebrate the holiday are welcome to join for a turkey dinner at the Veterans Memorial Senior Center at 1455 Madison Ave. in Redwood City.
Sasha Lekach, Bay City News