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The spirit of giving

Whether it's a huge, elaborate family meal or a small, quiet gathering, the heart of Thanksgiving is breaking bread with the ones you love.

With tough economic times for so many local residents these days, having a Thanksgiving meal is a luxury they just can't afford, which is why several local nonprofits are asking for the community's help in making sure everyone is able to enjoy a hot Thanksgiving meal. Here are a few organizations seeking specific help for Thanksgiving.

Committee on the Shelterless

Petaluma-based Committee on the Shelterless is asking for help from the community in meeting the need for about 400 frozen turkeys — not thawed or cooked — by Friday, Nov. 16 for its food box program and for the Petaluma Kitchen's Thanksgiving meal at the Mary Isaak Center.

"As of Nov. 9, we have 64 turkeys and we still need about 350," said Judy Hess, COTS food program manager. "We serve nearly 400 families on our Food Box program weekly, and we expect to serve up to 250 meals at the Mary Isaak Center on Thanksgiving Day."

Frozen turkeys may be dropped off between the hours of 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily at the Petaluma Kitchen located at the Mary Isaak Center, 900 Hopper St. For food safety purposes, do not bring thawed or cooked turkeys. Even though they are able to accept food prepared in commercial/professional kitchens, Health Department regulations prohibit COTS from serving food cooked in private homes.

"Since grocers limit the number of turkeys one can purchase, we need people to bring us turkeys instead of cash to purchase them," added Hess. "However, we would be happy to accept cash for all the other items."

In addition to frozen turkey, COTS is seeking donations of other traditional Thanksgiving meal items for the food box: stuffing mix, gravy, cranberry, instant mashed potatoes, canned green beans, cream of mushroom soup, canned pumpkin and canned yams.

For the Thanksgiving Day meal at the Petaluma Kitchen, COTS needs the following items: celery, No. 10 size cans of green beans, No. 10 size cans of fruit cocktail, fresh cranberries and heavy duty foil.

"We are extremely grateful for the support of the community, and we could not do this without their support," said Hess.

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