Does your family need help for Thanksgiving?

Jacksonville organizations help families in need with traditional meal

By Francine Frazier - Senior web producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - With the Thanksgiving holiday around the corner, some families might be starting to wonder how they will be able to afford a traditional meal.

Several organizations in Jacksonville are ready to help.

Farm Share -- a 27-year-old Florida-based charity that helps alleviate hunger by recovering produce marked as waste by farmers and distributing it to Floridians who need it the most for free -- has come together with city officials for the Season of Giving.

Farm Share said the average cost of  Thanksgiving Day feast for 10 people last year was $49.87.
To help those who don't have money to spare for the traditional fixings, Farm Share will be hosting a free Thanksgiving food distribution in Jacksonville from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday.

Duval County first responders will help Farm Share, which will be providing meals to 1,200 families who are struggling to put food on the table.

Food will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis at Florida State College at Jacksonville's Downtown Campus, 101 W. State St., Lot 4.

Local, state, and federal elected officials are expected to attend, as well as special guest 
Laveranues Coles, a former NFL receiver from Jacksonville, will attend the event, along with local, state and federal officials.

For more information about Farm Share or to donate to their cause, visit or call 305-246-3276 or text “EAT” to 41-444.

For those without a home to host their Thanksgiving meal, the City Rescue Mission is hosting its annual meal for the hungry and homeless in Northeast Florida form 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Guests will be seated and served a traditional Thanksgiving meal by volunteers.  

Immediately following the meal, City Rescue Mission will distribute over 1,000 pairs of new socks to the guests to help them through the colder season.

The Sulzbacher Center will serve a traditional Thanksgiving feast to hundreds of hungry men, women and children.

The meal will include roast turkey, traditional dressing, roasted garlic mashed red potatoes, sage gravy, cranberry sauce, green beans with almonds, collard greens and ham hocks, fresh rolls, and sweet potato and pecan pie for dessert. 
"The holidays are such a wonderful time of year and having a warm and inviting place to spend Thanksgiving is so important to those we serve daily," said Cindy Funkhouser, President and CEO of the Sulzbacher Center. "We hope the delicious Thanksgiving meal, similar to the one I enjoy with my family, will spread holiday cheer and lighten the spirits of some of our most vulnerable community members."

At noon, volunteers will begin serving the special holiday meal, which was made possible by generous donations from the community including JM Family Enterprises’ meal sponsorship.

Turkeys were given by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Navy Federal and Girl Scout Troop 142 provided table cards with inspiring messages. Over 550 men, women and children are expected to enjoy this hearty Thanksgiving lunch.

On Thanksgiving Day, The Salvation Army will serve a free community Thanksgiving lunch to anyone who is hungry from noon to 2 p.m. at the Towers Center of Hope at 900 W. Adams St downtown. The lunch is open to the public, and community members are invited to come and celebrate Thanksgiving together. 

If your organization is hosting a food giveaway or Thanksgiving event for needy families, email the information to

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