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Free Thanksgiving Dinners Are Available This Week Around the Ohio Valley

Photo by Shelley Hanson Rachel Alvarado, owner of Rachel’s on 16th in Wheeling, says her eatery will once again provide free to-go turkey dinners on Thanksgiving Day between noon and 4 p.m.

WHEELING — Those in need of a free dinner this Thanksgiving have a handful of places to choose from.

In Wheeling, Rachel’s on 16th, an eatery located at 86 16th Street in Wheeling, is slated to offer people free to-go dinners between noon and 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, which is Thursday.

Rachel Alvarado, who owns and runs the business with her husband Jeramie Alvarado, said people can walk into the eatery and receive the meal to go.

She noted there is no income or residency requirement to get the dinner that will include turkey and all the fixings. There will also be a variety of homemade desserts to choose from including pumpkin pie, sheet cake, brownies and more.

People will also get a bottle of water and hot chocolate will be available as well.

“We’ve been doing this since we opened. This is our third year. We always wanted to try and give back to the community, especially during holiday times. It’s difficult for people who don’t have enough money or family,” she said. “Now we have the space and the equipment to do free meals on Thanksgiving Day. It’s our turn to give back to the community and to help people who actually need it or are down on their luck.”

Last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, they served more than 100 people. She noted preparing the food takes a lot of work, but is worth it in the end.

“We’re happy to do something for the community. Without the community we wouldn’t be as successful as we are,” she said.

The Soup Kitchen of Greater Wheeling, 1610 Eoff St., is holding its free Thanksgiving dinner for the public from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, said Becky Rodocker, executive director.

“We do ours the day before because we have a lot of people who have family to go and see on Thanksgiving,” she said.

Rodocker said everyone is welcomed to the dinner. She mentioned that people are not required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 to attend the dinner.

The meal will include turkey and all the usual fixings, along with pumpkin pie and apple cider. She said raffles and prizes will be given away during the meal.

“Everyone will have a chance to get a hat and gloves and socks. We try to make it a party atmosphere,” she said.

“We aim for everyone to go out the door with something. It’s a small token of our appreciation for them coming in, for making the Soup Kitchen a nice place to be. Without them we wouldn’t be here.”

People will also receive a meal to take home, Rodocker said.

Rodocker said they will cook 26 turkeys in anticipation of feeding between 200 and 300 people. The Soup Kitchen has a large oven, capable of cooking 12 turkeys at a time. The roasting will begin on Monday.

“We’re excited about it. We try to make the place look pretty,” she added.

In Steubenville’s Pleasant Heights neighborhood, free turkey dinners are scheduled to be given out between 4 and 7 p.m. or “until the food runs out” on Thanksgiving Day from resident Urban Green’s food truck, Hot Foods On’Da Hill. His food truck will be parked in front of 536 Lawson Ave. The platters will have turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, “grandpa’s green beans,” cranberry sauce, dinner roll or cornbread muffin.

Green anticipates feeding at least 100 people.

“We’re doing this out of pocket,” Green said of himself and his wife, Tracy. “We’ve been here four years and we’re trying to help the community.”

Green said people in Steubenville who need their meal delivered can call him at 412-595-6911 or his wife at 412-595-4674.

Green said he is also planning to do a similar style free meal on Christmas Eve, likely about the same time, and a “poor man’s meal” of cabbage and kielbasa on New Year’s Eve. Last Fourth of July, his food truck did a free meal of hamburgers, hot dogs and potato salad.

Green said his food truck has been in business since late 2018. He moved to Steubenville from Pittsburgh to help care for his sister who has since passed away after battling cancer.

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