Thanksgiving Day meals offered for those staying in Corvallis

Kari Whitacare, COI executive director, says COI provides a Thanksgiving Day meal for their clients.

Brock Hulse, News Contributor

Alternative hot meals provided by several organizations in Benton County.

While many student may be leaving Corvallis for the extended weekend Thanksgiving break, for some individuals who attend Oregon State University, this is not an option. Those who are staying may have a variety of reason for staying, from being international students to not having a place to go back to, but regardless, they all have one thing in common: they will be spending their Thanksgiving in Corvallis.

University Housing and Dining Services has already begun offering Thanksgiving-themed meals for OSU students, according to Jennifer Viña, the UHDS associate director of marketing and communications. Thanksgiving events already offered by UHDS include two all-inclusive meals that took place on campus in McNary Dining Center on Wednesday, Nov. 15 and in Marketplace West on Thursday, Nov. 16. A third and final Thanksgiving meal will be offered Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 23, at Southside Station at Arnold from 5-7 p.m., Viña added.

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The meals at these events are priced at $9.95 and are all-inclusive, including turkey, potatoes and other holiday dishes. UHDS will also be offering vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options when possible. 

“Some menu items during this special meal include polenta, veggie ragout, glazed carrots and cranberries,” Viña said via email.

Further options are also available for OSU students unable to afford a Thanksgiving Day meal. OSU’s Human Services Resource Center is offering emergency food boxes, according to Kevin Schultz, a graduate teaching assistant at the HSRC. Although the HSRC will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and Friday, Nov. 24 in observance of Thanksgiving, students are able to pick up these emergency food boxes the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday preceding Thanksgiving Day.

“We do regularly give out emergency food boxes on any day ever, but we can’t those two closed days (Thursday and Friday); there won’t be anyone here,” Schultz said. “We have a plethora of stuffing, pumpkin, potatoes and veggies. People can come in and grab a lot of the supplies for some sides.”

Jackson Street Youth Services also makes an annual Thanksgiving Day meal for individuals under the age of 24, according to Schultz. Here, individuals are able to receive a takeout container with a Thanksgiving meal inside.

“Historically, a lot of the youth that they have living there go home for Thanksgiving or aren’t always around, so there’s a lot of food, a lot of leftovers,” Schultz said. “It’s definitely a prime location to get a good hot meal that day.”

Community Outreach Inc., a resource center in Corvallis, will also be hosting an event for their shelter clients on Thanksgiving Day, according to Kari Whitacre, the executive director of COI.

“A local church group is putting together an event for our clients where they’re helping prepare a Thanksgiving meal. They’ll do arts and crafts with the kids, there’s going to be music and potentially some theater going on, a little showcase of Elf from Philomath High School, and just sort of making it a celebration,” Whitacre said. “Oftentimes when you find yourself in a shelter during the holidays, it’s a little bit more glum than not. So this just helps lift people’s spirits.”

COI currently has around 60 clients, with about half of these clients being individuals who are under the age of 18, according to Whitacre. Among those clients under the age of 18, the youngest client is an infant, and the oldest is roughly 16 years old.

Additionally, Stone Soup Corvallis Inc. will also be offering a hot meal on Thanksgiving Day, according to Susan Dunham, a program coordinator at SSCI. SSCI is a local nonprofit organization that serves a full meal each day to any individuals who are in need of a meal.

SSCI has annually hosted a traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner at St. Mary’s Church in Corvallis, however, this year’s event will be taking place in the First Presbyterian Church due to the remodeling of St. Mary’s, according to Dunham. 

“The dinner will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 and is open to anyone who is in need of a good meal,” Dunham said.

Further Thanksgiving Day meal options are also available through Visit Corvallis, a private non-profit organization that markets Corvallis and Benton County as a destination city. Their website lists restaurants and their operation information in Corvallis that will be open on Thanksgiving Day.