Throughout the island chain, charitable and religious organizations will open their doors before and on Thanksgiving, providing several opportunities to celebrate the holiday or volunteer.

In Marathon, join St. Columba Episcopal Church at 451 52nd St. bayside, behind the Panda House restaurant, for its annual holiday service at noon on Thanksgiving Day followed by a full turkey dinner. It’s a potluck community dinner except the turkey and ham, which is provided by the church. Call 305-743-6412.

At the Grace Jones Community Center, parents are welcome for a Thanksgiving luncheon on Nov. 15. Also, 65 children will be sent home with backpacks filled with nutritious food through the center’s Backpacks 4 Kids program. 

Volunteers at Keys Area Interdenominational Resources at the Community United Methodist Church, MM 48.5 bayside, will pack Thanksgiving bundles for those in need and distribute them the weekend before the holiday. 

About 300 clients sign up annually for this anonymous program, according to Marjorie Roberts, executive director of KAIR, and she requests people sign up early by calling 305-743-4582.

Upper Keys

Burton Memorial United Methodist Church at MM 93 holds its annual luncheon on Thanksgiving at 1 p.m. It’s open to the community and free. 

At Island Community Church in Islamorada, MM 83.2, church members and Island Christian School students will delivery turkey dinners with side dishes the week of Thanksgiving to people and shelters from Key Largo south to Marathon. 

The church asks people to sign up early by emailing [email protected] or calling 305-664-4933. Provide the name, phone number and address of the person whom the delivery is for and number of meals needed. 

The First Baptist Church of Islamorada at MM 81.2 celebrates Thanksgiving at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 20. About 150 families will be served. It is a weekly dinner open to the community.

Keys Vineyard Community Church on Big Pine Key will host its Night of Thanks dinner on Nov. 21 at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. According to the church’s Facebook page, there will be plenty of food, a concert and dessert. Call 305-782-3404 for more information. 

In Key West, dinner will not be served at St. Martha’s Ministry, 1010 Windsor Lane. 

“But we prepare a Thanksgiving dinner and bring it out to KOTS (Keys Overnight Temporary Shelter) on Stock Island,” said Mary Leen, director of the St. Maratha’s soup kitchen. “We serve between 100 and 120 people a day, so I’m not sure if Thanksgiving will be any different.” 

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