There’s no reason to go hungry or be alone on Thanksgiving, as several groups in Clark County host free meals open to anyone and everyone. Here are five places where you can get a free Thanksgiving meal around town.
1) St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 8701 N.E. 119th St., Vancouver.
Last year, Ohana Farms Northwest served more than 300 people at St. John the Evangelist and ran out of food by mid-afternoon. Organizer Carolyn Carpio hopes to serve even more people this year. The meal takes place between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day at the church. While no family — no matter how big — will be turned away, people are asked to call 360-798-7622 to reserve a spot. Transportation is provided if needed, though Carpio could use some help providing transportation for more people.
Those who attend will also have the opportunity to get a haircut, take home nonperishable food and winter clothes, and participate in a cake walk.
2) WareHouse ’23, 100 Columbia St., Vancouver.
Probably the most well-known free Thanksgiving meal was hosted for years by state Court of Appeals Judge Rich Melnick and Chuck Chronis at Chronis’ restaurant. That restaurant is long gone, but the meal tradition continues at WareHouse ’23 with the help of its owner, Mark Matthias. Get grub between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the waterfront restaurant, which will also host a free meal at the same time on Christmas Day. Call 360-750-7256 for more information.
3) Smirna Christian Church, 8205 N.E. Fourth Plain Blvd., Vancouver.
For years, Donnie Vercher hosted a Thanksgiving meal in the parking lot behind his restaurant, Daddy D’s Southern Style BBQ in central Vancouver. This year, Vercher said he’s been blessed with a facility to hold the event, Smirna Christian Church just down the road, where he expects to feed 1,000 people.
“We’ll be cooking all this week,” he said.
He’s smoking 40 to 50 turkeys and 40 hams in preparation for the meal happening noon to 4 p.m. this Saturday. Vercher said he could still use donations of hams, instant potatoes, cranberry sauce and canned green beans, which can be dropped off at the restaurant at 7204 N.E. Fourth Plain Blvd., located next to a Shell station.
Besides the meal, there will be children’s activities, haircuts, a beauty station, eyeglasses and other services for those in need. Meals can be delivered, too. Vercher holds the annual event through his nonprofit Dream for Life.
“No one will be turned away. Everybody is welcome,” Vercher said. “It’s not just for the homeless folks. It’s for the community to come together.”
Transportation is available if needed. Visit www.facebook.com/dreamforlifeoutreach.
4) Proto-Cathedral of St. James the Greater, 218 W. 12th St., Vancouver.
Every Thursday, the Proto Cathedral hosts a free meal, called the Frassati Supper, for those who are homeless or otherwise in need. Thanksgiving is no exception to this weekly ministry that been going on for nearly five years. The meal takes place 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thanksgiving Day in the lower hall of the downtown church, which faces Columbia Street.
5) Hockinson Café, 219 N.W. 20th Ave., Battle Ground.
Hockinson Café is teaming up with Albertsons and local fitness instructor Kim Witherspoon to offer Thanksgiving meals to families in need or anyone who doesn’t have a place to go for the holiday. Witherspoon said she’s part of a group called North County Community Helpers that comes up with ways to better the community and cobbled together 30 volunteers to make it happen.
“We thought we would try to have a Thanksgiving meal,” she said.
Meals will be served at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Thanksgiving Day at the cafe. The North County Community Food Bank is registering people who have been referred to the event by social service agencies. Witherspoon said the goal is to feed 100 people. There are still some spaces left, which people can reserve by calling her at 360-771-9165.