Churches, organizations adapt to COVID restrictions to provide Thanksgiving meals to community

MADISON, Wis. — Thanksgiving community meals won’t look quite the same this year.

The Good Shepherd Lutheran Church has served Thanksgiving meals for the past 24 years with the help of donations from church and community members. This year, they’re still giving out free meals, but instead of hosting the meal in a big room where the community eats together, they are serving the meal drive-thru style.

“They get the meals and they can take it home and eat it,” said Good Shepherd Lutheran Church’s Social Outreach Director Rick Thomas. “It’s not what we would like where everyone can sit together and have a meal together but we do think it’s an opportunity to still feed people in our community.”

Thomas said they’re prepared to feed about 500 families from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. this Thursday. Thomas said if they have any food leftover, they will donate it to a local homeless shelter.

Hawk’s Bar and Grill on State Street is teaming up with the Black Men Coalition of Dane County to serve around 200 people outside the restaurant from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. this Thursday. This is the first time either organization is helping feed the community for the holiday.

“We just looked to step in and help out our community,” said founder of Black Men Coalition of Dane County, Corey Marionneaux.

Marionneaux said he expects more families will be in need of a meal this year due to the number of people going through financial hardships from the pandemic. He also said the meal will be held outside, following social distancing and COVID guidelines. The Beacon and River Food Pantry are supplying the food. Urban Triage is supplying blankets, volunteers, coffee and hot cocoa.

Here are some other places in Dane County offering free Thanksgiving meals:

The Beacon

12:00 p.m. -12:30 p.m.

615 E Washington Ave.


Calvary Gospel Church

1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

5301 Commercial Ave.


First Congregational United Church of Christ

12 p.m. – 3 p.m.

1609 University Ave.


Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

5701 Raymond Rd.


Luke House

4 p.m. -5:30 p.m.

301 S Ingersoll St.


Neighborhood Food Solutions (Hosted at Labor Temple)

1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

1602 S Park St.