Where to find free Thanksgiving meals and groceries in the East Bay

A guide to churches, organizations and restaurants in the East Bay that are providing Thanksgiving resources for those in need.

Richmond community group The Black Neighborhood is distributing raw turkeys for Thanksgiving. Credit: The Black Neighborhood

For many households, Thanksgiving entails a large gathering of family and/or friends with plenty of food to go around the table. This is not the scenario for everyone, however, even in a region as abundant at the Bay Area. It’s up to churches, support organizations and some charitable businesses to fill in the gap, providing groceries or hot Thanksgiving meals to those who need it.

Given the ongoing pandemic, most of the organizations hosting meal and grocery giveaways are doing so on a to-go basis only. Some events may also require tickets or advance registration. Be sure to check each event’s website and social media channels for the most up-to-date information on any restrictions, as well as the COVID-19 safety protocols you’ll need to follow.

Thanksgiving is also, of course, a time to give. If you are looking for volunteering opportunities in the East Bay, many of the events listed below are accepting volunteers as well as donations. And remember, they need help all year round, so please consider volunteering to assist in non-holiday times, as well.

Berkeley

Berkeley Food Pantry

What: The Berkeley Food Pantry is open to all Albany and Berkeley residents in need of food.
When: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 2-4 p.m. for walk-ups and appointments, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 1-3 p.m and Tuesdays, noon to 2 p.m. for home deliveries. Please note, the pantry will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday on Friday, Nov. 26. For updated hours, please visit the website.
Where: 1600 Sacramento St. (near Cedar Street), Berkeley
Volunteer/Donate: To learn more about volunteering at the food pantry, visit the website. You may donate to the Food Pantry online.

Berkeley Food Network Pantry

What: The Berkeley Food Network Pantry is open to all Albany and Berkeley residents in need of food.
When: Monday to Thursday: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m, Monday and Wednesday 5-6:30 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to noon. Please note, the pantry will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday from Wednesday, Nov. 24 through Saturday, Nov. 27. For updated hours, please visit the website.
Where: 1925 Ninth St. (near University Avenue), Berkeley
Volunteer/Donate: Fill out this form to volunteer at the food pantry. You may donate to the Food Network Pantry here.

Oakland

Community Giving Foundation Turkey Drive

What: The Community Giving Foundation will be giving away raw turkeys to the community.
When: Saturday, Nov. 20, 8 a.m. to noon.
Where: Verdese Carter Rec. Center, 9600 Sunnyside St. (near 96th Avenue), Oakland
Donate/Volunteer: See their website for more about donating to the Community Giving Foundation.

College Avenue Presbyterian Church (CAPC) Annual Thanksgiving Community Meal

What: CAPC will be providing hot Thanksgiving meals to the community.
When: Thursday, Nov. 25 from 11 a.m. to noon.
Where: 5951 College Ave. (near Chabot Road), Oakland
Volunteer/donate: Fill out this form to volunteer for CAPC’s annual Thanksgiving Meal or donate online.

East Oakland Boxing Association (EOBA) Holiday Meal Giveaway

What: The EOBA will be giving away hot meals to the community, please register online.
When: Saturday, Nov. 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m, or until all meals have been distributed.
Where: 816 98th Ave. (near Pearman Street), Oakland
Donate/Volunteer: Learn more online on how to donate to the EOBA.

Grandma’s Hands Thanksgiving Community Event

What: Soul food restaurant Grandma’s Hands is giving away hot meals for Thanksgiving. The event will also have music. Meals and groceries will also be delivered to those in need throughout Oakland. Registration for the event is available online.
When: Wednesday, Nov. 24th from noon to 5 p.m.
Where: 7633 MacArthur Blvd. (near 77th Avenue), Oakland
Volunteer/Donate: For more information on volunteering or donating, please visit Grandma’s Hands’ Instagram page

Horn Barbecue Turkey Giveaway

What: Chef Matt Horn and his team at Horn Barbecue will be giving away raw turkeys to the community.
When: Monday, Nov. 22 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: 2534 Mandela Parkway (near 26th Street), Oakland

Lake Merritt United Methodist Church (UMC) Thanksgiving Dinner

What: The Lake Merritt UMC will be giving away hot Thanksgiving meals to the community.
When: Thursday, Nov. 25th. from noon to 2 p.m.
Where: 1330 Lakeshore Avenue, Oakland, CA 94606
Donate/Volunteer: To volunteer for the Lake Merritt UMC Thanksgiving Dinner, please fill out this form. Donations are accepted online.

Monster Pho‘s 2nd Annual Pho for the People

What: Monster Pho will be distributing “Thanksphogiving” meals to the community.
When: Wednesday, Nov. 24 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: 3905 Broadway (near 40th Street), Oakland

Shiloh Church Thanksgiving Food Giveaway

What: Shiloh Church will be distributing hot meals to the community, please register online.
When: Monday, Nov. 22 from 10 a.m. – noon
Where: 3295 School St. (near Berlin Way), Oakland
Volunteer/donate: Fill out this form to volunteer for Shiloh Church’s Thanksgiving Food Giveaway. Donations can be made online.

Two Star Market’s 19th Annual Thanksgiving Dinner in the Dimond 2021

What: Two Star Market will be giving away hot Thanksgiving meals to the community.
When: Thursday, Nov. 25th at 1 p.m.
Where: 2020 MacArthur Blvd. (near Dimond Avenue), Oakland
Volunteer/donate: Fill out this form to volunteer.

Richmond

Bay Area Rescue Mission Love Without Limits Turkey Giveaway

What: The Bay Area Rescue Mission will be giving away raw turkeys for the community. Register for the event online.
When: Tuesday, Nov. 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Where: 123 Macdonald Ave. (near First Avenue), Richmond
Volunteer/Donate: Fill out this form to volunteer for future Bay Area Rescue Mission events. You may donate to the Bay Area Rescue Mission online.

The Black Neighborhood 6th Annual Turkey Drive

What: The Black Neighborhood will be giving away raw turkeys for the community. Register for a turkey online.
When: Sunday, Nov. 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: 2200 Macdonald Ave. (near 22nd Street), Richmond
Donate/Volunteer: To volunteer for The Black Neighborhood’s Turkey Drive, please fill out this form. You may donate to The Black Neighborhood online.