With more than 700 turkey dinners with all of the fixings served last year, the Salida Community Thanksgiving Dinner is an event put on by the community for the community.

The dinner will take place from noon to 3 p.m. Thanksgiving Day at St. Joseph Parish Center, 340 E. Fifth St.

“We get homeless people, families, the elderly and teenagers,” Lu Valerio, one of the event’s organizers, said. “We have volunteers from the Middle East this year helping out. It’s an array of people. It’s a real community event.”

Last year, she said they cooked 28 turkeys and were running low by the end. This year they’re going for 31 turkeys.

Anyone who is unable to make it to the dinner can also call and get a meal delivered.

“People who can’t get out and can’t drive – this is something they look forward to,” Valerio said.

To request a delivery, call Keith Valerio, Lu’s brother, at 719-221-5399, and tell him how many meals are needed. Rose Silva will organize the effort to get the meals delivered.

More than 100 volunteers help make the event possible, doing everything from cooking turkeys, gravy and mashed potatoes to serving, hosting and delivering food.

Lu Valerio said some people have volunteered since the start. They could always use more. This year, they still need some volunteers to clean up after the meal, taking down tables and washing pots and pans. Anyone interested in helping can call Lu at 719-221-2855.

High Country Bank and Monarch Community Outreach donate money to buy the food. Lu Valerio said the bank donates money for the turkeys, and Monarch’s donations go to “all of the other food stuff.”

The meal is free for all, but a donation box will be set up if people would like to give.

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