Story by reporter Jackie Majerus:
Those who want to share a Thanksgiving meal on Thursday are invited to come to The Salvation Army for a traditional feast.
While other food pantries are giving out turkeys and groceries to needy families, there are fewer places to get a hot meal.
Caseworker Marge Rivera said the meal will be served at The Salvation Army's soup kitchen at 19 Stearns St. on Federal Hill.
The meal will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., said Rivera.
She said there will be turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce, potatoes and gravy, vegetables and pies.
Everyone is welcome, said Rivera, without regard to income.
"Just come on in and eat," said Rivera. "Some people don't have family or friends. They come here. It's nice."
Employees from General Electric in Plainville will prepare about a dozen turkeys and serve the meal, Rivera said, as they have for years.
But preparations are already underway at the soup kitchen, said Rivera, so the volunteers from GE can hit the ground running when they arrive on Thursday.
Rivera said they'll ask visitors who come to eat on Thursday to sign in by first name, "so we can keep track of how many people" showed up for the meal, but that's the extent of it.
The Salvation Army is serving about 100 meals each day, said Rivera, to about 60 to 70 people.
She's expecting that Thanksgiving Day will bring about the same number.
The number of people coming to the soup kitchen, said Rivera, "has gone up, with the economy the way it is."
Thomas Morrow, director of the Bristol Community Organization, said The Salvation Army is the only organization he knows of that is offering a warm, cooked meal that day.
Andy Theodoropoulos, who owns the Oasis Family Restaurant on Pine Street along with his brother Billy, said their longstanding tradition of serving a Thanksgiving meal for charity ended last year.
None of the employees at the restaurant wanted to work on a volunteer basis for the day, he said, and paying the help would have cut severely into the donations they would have collected for the needy.
So the Oasis will be closed on Thanksgiving, Theodoropoulos said, but that won't stop the brothers from giving to charity. He said they often donate food to local soup kitchens.
"We love to help people," said Theodoropoulos said. "Bristol helped us all these years."
Now that Thanksgiving is nearly here, Rivera is seriously thinking about Christmas and how she'll come up with everything needed for the 200 households on the list for Christmas baskets.
"Food is trickling in," said Rivera. "We still do need donations."
She said donations of frozen turkeys to the food pantry would help quite a bit, as would donations of other food.
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