“We have hundreds of volunteers on Thanksgiving day,” Shelly Kleinman, Co-Chair of the Oceanside Interfaith Council, said. “Everyone from school kids to senior citizens.”
For almost 25 years now, the Council has hosted its Thanksgiving feast for those who don’t have the means to host their own. This year’s festive meal will be held at Oceanside High School on Thanksgiving day, a tradition that started 5 years ago, when Superstorm Sandy ravaged the area and left more people in need than usual.
Since then, the feast has fed anywhere from 400 to 800 people, and Kleinman estimates that it takes about 800 pounds of turkey to feed everyone. They serve kosher and non-kosher meals, so attendees of all faiths can enjoy the holiday.
Kleinman said that local organizations play a big part in the event, including the Boy and Girl Scouts. “Knights of Columbus have been very, very generous,” he said. “They’ve given out coats and winter clothes for kids in the past.”
The event is, to some extent, an exercise in logistics. Serving starts at roughly 11:15 a.m. and ends around 1:30 p.m. Busses transport attendees to and from various local community and senior centers. “You never know how many people are going to come,” Kleinman said. “Sometimes we have 4 to 500 people, sometimes 6 to 800.”
The council also organizes meal deliveries to those who are unable to leave their homes.
“We want to get the word out more on this event,” he said, adding that anyone wishing to get involved should speak to a local clergy member for direction.
Those who would like to contribute can donate to the council’s fundraising page here.