Richardson and his family, owners of Willy’s Bagels & Blends in Brentwood, are once again rallying local businesses and residents for the annual Street Feast, a community-wide Thanksgiving dinner open to anyone looking for a free, nutritious meal and good company for the holiday. Richardson expects the fest, now in its third year, to exceed last year’s guest list of 865.
“It’s amazing how the energy grows each year,” Richardson said. “The camaraderie of this community is unbelievable, but that’s what I love about Brentwood. It’s a community that wants to help. So many people have already reached out, expressing their desire to help with this year’s event. I want to feed at least 1,500 people this year, and with all the support that we’ve received so far, I think we can do it.”
Street Feast is held from noon to 4 p.m. at Brentwood Town Centre Plaza, 1185 Second St. Volunteers serve turkey dinners to anyone looking for a place to spend Thanksgiving. The meal is free; no questions asked. The event also includes live music and activities for the kids, such as jump houses, face painting, crafts and the Tumble Time Bus. Those in need are sent home with a bag of groceries and an invitation to God’s Closet, a clothing outlet filled with gently used clothing items and accessories. People are welcome to come in and take what they need at no cost.
Richardson and the Street Feast team are reaching out to Brentwood residents and surrounding communities to spread the word about the event, encouraging families to celebrate and share the spirit of giving by volunteering their time. Those who prefer not to cook on Turkey Day are invited to come out and share a meal with their fellow residents.
There are many ways to help make Street Feast a success. Cash donations and grocery store gift cards are greatly appreciated. An $8 donation helps fund one turkey dinner. Richardson is accepting non-perishable food, clothing, toys and blankets for God’s Closet. Donations may be dropped off at both Willy’s Bagels & Blends locations, 1155 Second St. and 390 West Country Club Drive. Supplies such as plates, utensils, napkins and cups are also needed.
To reach even more people this year, Street Feast is going mobile. Those unable to leave their homes, such as the elderly or disabled, are welcome to call the Street Feast organizers at 209-914-3729 to request a Street Feast meal.
Richardson is impressed by the willingness of locals to open their hearts and wallets to support Street Feast. “It’s great to see people getting excited about helping out and giving back,” he said. “I know the economy is supposed to be getting better, but there are still a lot of people down on their luck. Families who came to our first Street Feast for a meal now come to help out as volunteers.
“That’s why we do this: it’s an opportunity to connect with our community and show that you don’t have to go through these hard times alone. Brentwood is a town that gives, and it’s my pleasure to help put on an event like this that showcases the giving nature of Brentwood and its residents.”
For more information about Street Feast, including volunteer opportunities, e-mail email@example.com.
In addition to the Street Feast in Brentwood, a number of organizations are offering free meals to those in need on or around Thanksgiving. Some of these locations are listed below. If you know of another free Thanksgiving event in East County and would like it listed in next week’s paper, e-mail details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most Holy Rosary Church in Antioch hosts a free Thanksgiving meal Nov. 22 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at 21 E. 15th St.
Word of Life Christian Fellowship offers free Thanksgiving meals Nov. 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. All are welcome. Volunteers and donations of food are still needed. Any remaining food will be distributed to local shelters.
There is still time to donate food, clothing, and volunteer time for the upcoming Golden Hills Community Church Thanksgiving event. The annual dinner provides a hot meal of turkey, ham and all the fixings to those in need. This year’s dinner is held Thanksgiving Day from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Veterans Hall, 757, First St. Donations of clothing and non-perishable food or beverages may be dropped off at Sharp Realty, 320 Fairview Ave. Other popular items include baby diapers, blankets and jackets. Other needs for the day of the event include pies, sweet potatoes and stuffing. The sweet potatoes and stuffing (in disposable pans) should be dropped off Thanksgiving Day.
The Discovery Bay Boy Scouts hold their annual Scouting for Food event Nov. 17 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of the Safeway in Discovery Bay, where Scouts will collect non-perishable items for distribution to the county food banks, plus used eyeglasses to give to the Discovery Bay Lions Club for its recycling program.
The Redmen/Pocahontas Hall, 1403 Main St., is the venue for Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. The club will provide meat dishes, and volunteers will provide an array of side dishes. For information or to volunteer, call Pocahontas Debra at 925-756-1898 or Jane at 925-625-2527.
St. Vincent de Paul of Contra Costa County, in partnership with Loaves and Fishes of Contra Costa County, hosts 300 guests on Saturday, Nov. 24 for a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. Dinner is served at 11:30 a.m. in the dining room at 1415 Simpson Court in Pittsburg. For additional information or to make a donation, visit www.svdp-cc.org.