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Many places for people to get meals before and on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving meals for those in need and who may be alone for the holiday will be offered in both Amherst and Northampton this week.

Community dinners begin Wednesday at 1 p.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church on North Pleasant Street in Amherst, when the Amherst Survival Center holds its annual Thanksgiving Dinner, with around 200 guests expected to enjoy the meal and at least 50 volunteers assisting.

“It’s become part of people’s Thanksgiving tradition to be part of this event,” said Tracey Levy, program coordinator for the Survival Center.

Students at North Star Self-Directed Learning for Teens in Hadley will bake about 30 pies that will be served, Levy said. Volunteers get to the church between 9 a.m., when they start setting up, and leave by 3:30 p.m., when cleaning is complete, she said.

This year’s event is a special occasion that marks the end of the 34 years the Survival Center has called the old North Amherst School home. The center moves to its new site on Sunderland Road the first week of December. People who come to the dinner will have a chance to share their memories of the soon-to-be former site.

“What we’re really hoping for is people to come together to remember those things,” Levy said. “This is a momentous shift.”

Levy said there are likely enough volunteers signed up and food available already, but people are welcome to send her emails to find out if there are any additional needs tracey@amherstsurvival.org

On Thanksgiving Day, the Manna Soup Kitchen in Northampton will serve a community dinner for those in need from noon to 2 p.m. in the downstairs fellowship hall at the Edwards Church on Main Street

Between 10 and 11 a.m., meal deliveries for homebound individuals in Northampton, Florence, Leeds, Easthampton, Williamsburg and Hatfield will go out.

Elaine Ullman, who is helping to coordinate the meal, said about 100 volunteers will come to the dinner.

To help prepare the meal, set up the dining hall, or serve the community dinner, volunteers can sign up at the Manna Thanksgiving website at www.SignUpGenius.com/go/508084AACAE2FA57-thanksgiving.

At noon there will be a Thanksgiving meal at Not Bread Alone, the soup kitchen at the First Congregational Church in Amherst.

This annually replaces the regular Wednesday evening meal at the site, which is not held because of the Amherst Survival Center event.

Also on Thanksgiving Day, the Amherst Senior Center, located in the Bangs Communituy Center, will for the 38th year under the supervision of Director Nancy Pagano.

“The home-delivered meals go out at noon and the sit down at Bangs is at 2 p.m.,” Pagano said.

The meals are primarily for those people 60 and over who are alone, shut in and don’t have the ability to make their own meal, Pagano said.

Volunteers of all ages have signed up to be part of this.

On the night of Thanksgiving, Craig’s Place, the homeless shelter in Amherst that can accommodate up to 22 guests, will serve dinner, as it does each night.

Kevin Noonan, executive director of Craig’s Doors, which runs the shelter, said offerings could be a bit more elaborate because of the holiday, with the possibility of getting a turkey from the Food Bank. “One thing we may do is put together a special meal,” Noonan said.

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