Food of Thanks

Sandie Betancourt helps load the next car during the Salvation Army & Second Harvest Food Bank's Food Drive at the Salvation Army in DeLand on Thursday, Nov. 21. Mrs. Betancourt works in the kitchen at the Salvation Army.

No one needs to feel alone this Thanksgiving season as churches and nonprofit agencies are providing love and turkey dinners throughout Volusia County.

Whether it is a fully-cooked dinner at a site, or a food basket to prepare your own, there are enough turkeys for everyone to enjoy the holiday.

For example, in New Smyrna Beach free Thanksgiving Day dinners will be served from 11:30 am- 3:00 pm at the First United Methodist Church (Hollister Hall), 215 Palmetto St. For more information, call (386)428-4371 or email

Hope Lutheran Church in Daytona Beach will host its annual free Thanksgiving Day Dinner at 2 p.m. at 594 N. Williamson Blvd. All are welcome. For a reservation, call (386) 673-2940.

Halifax Urban Ministries will be offering free turkey dinners Wednesday, Nov. 27, at thee Bridge of Hope program, 316 North St. in Daytona Beach. Anyone is welcome from 11:30 a.m. to 1pm.

The Jerry Doliner Food Bank in Ormond Beach, run by the Jewish Federation of Volusia & Flagler Counties, has been accepting donations for its annual Thanksgiving Turkey Appeal. The holiday meal, which includes an 18-pound turkey, apples, oranges, tangerines, celery, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, a bag of Stovetop dressing, gravy, and everything that goes with the main meal, including a pumpkin pie, was distributed to at least 250 local families in need last week.

The annual event has been going on at least 15 years. Gloria Max, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Volusia & Flagler Counties, said, “Thanksgiving is a holiday that people will cross the continent to be with family. The economy is good, but still people are not making enough money, they really aren’t. And everything has gone up, rent, utilities. So, people just don’t have the extra to buy a turkey and all the things that go with a turkey and it’s sad. That is why we do it.”

She added, “We have wonderful volunteers. It takes a lot of work. People think it just materializes. It’s not one size fits all. We make sure it is (for the) people who are really needy. We try to keep it to the people who come to us during the month. We know that they’re really in need. We’re Jewish, but 97% of the people we help are not of the Jewish faith.”

The food bank is in need of donations year-round with 100% of all donations used to buy food for those in need.

There will be a Christmas turkey and toy drive as well. The federation also will sponsor a luncheon Dec. 17 for elderly Jewish seniors, age 80 and older, mostly transported from local nursing homes.

For more information, call (386) 672-0294, stop by the Jerry Doliner Food Bank at 470 Andalusia Ave. in Ormond Beach or visit

The City of Deltona was offering free turkeys to residents Tuesday, Nov. 26, at City Hall, 2345 Providence Blvd. There were 800 turkeys with one bird per family.

The Spring Hill Community Resource Center in partnership with several community organizations provided Thanksgiving meals Saturday, Nov. 23, at Spring Hill Park, 903 S. Thompson Ave., DeLand.

But if you missed that one, St. Peter's Catholic Church at 359 W. New York Ave. in DeLand is serving a Thanksgiving Day dinner from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for elderly residents or anyone who will be alone. For more information, call (386) 822-6000.

You can also call any Volusia County church for information about food pantries, turkey giveaways or additional turkey dinners. Also, check city hall and social services agency websites. And get ready to enjoy that turkey!

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