No Thanksgiving dinner? No problem: budget options for a Thanksgiving feast in Santa Monica

This time of the year, the country is taken over by images of families gathering around the table, ready to dig into a roasted turkey. Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky enough to experience the iconic Thanksgiving dinner with their families, whether it be because they can’t go home for the weekend or because they simply can’t afford it.

Thankfully, however, those who need a hot meal or company this coming holiday don’t need to worry, not everything will be closed this Thanksgiving Day.

For those in need of a hot meal, the St. Monica Catholic Church at 725 California Ave. will be hosting their 35th annual Thanksgiving Day Dinner. At the St. Monica Church, hundreds of volunteers have joined together every year to feed the homeless and anyone in need of some food. Nearly all the food is contributed, and according to Pastoral Associate and Staff Coordinator Delis Alejandro, the church rarely has a shortage of dinner to eat.

“It really does take a village to feed a child,” she said. “All of the food is donated by volunteers and we almost never have to go out and buy anything extra.”

In addition to serving everyone dinner, the church will also be home to a boutique where people are encouraged to pick up free warm clothing and supplies for the upcoming winter season.

St. Monica Church isn’t alone in its endeavours to feed those who are homeless or lonely; The Westside Thanksgiving Community Dinner and Celebration is another annual Thanksgiving Day celebration held for the homeless and those away from their families. This celebration also provides free meals donated and run entirely by volunteers.

The Westside community dinner is more than just meal-oriented, too. There are plenty of activities and resources for attendees to enjoy.

“We do Christmas cards, [because] there’s lots of homeless people that haven’t connected to their families in a long time,” said community leader Tim McGrath. “There’s also a lot of homeless children and we set up a carnival area with ponies, animals, jolly jumps and Disney characters so it’s an opportunity for kids to not only have something to eat, but to also have a good time doing it.”

The Westside Community Dinner makes sure to put all resources to good use as well. According to McGrath, as many volunteers as possible are used and they have a recycling group that comes and recycles everything that needs to be. In fact, none of the donated food even goes to waste. Whatever food is left behind gets handed to other donation groups. He also points out that the most important fact of the matter is that everyone has a massive passion for coming together to help without an incentive.

“Not one of the people who donated their time to participate is paid,” he said. “It’s 100% volunteer based. There is no one that makes any money, any salary.”

This year the community dinner sees a change in location, as it used to be located at the Civic Auditorium before it closed down. This year, the dinner will be held outside north of Wilshire Boulevard and Bonsall Avenue.

The free dinners aren’t the only ones available this Thanksgiving, though. Several restaurants in Santa Monica will remain open and taking orders for anyone who isn’t prone to the traditional Thanksgiving dinner; A good chunk of them are cheap, too, most for under $30.

The Misfit Restaurant and Bar on Santa Monica Boulevard is among the restaurants staying open on Thanksgiving Day. For dinner, they have a variety of different foods available, ranging from burgers to prime rib and lobster. Of course, since it operates as a bar as well, it isn’t the most appropriate place for families to gather, but there are a few other options for cheap dinners in Santa Monica.

Real Food Daily, a restaurant also located on Santa Monica Boulevard, offers lasagna, tacos, burritos, and kung pao chicken, as far as main courses go. Salads of different kinds are also served for those with more health-oriented tastes, including their basic House salad, which is made up of “leafy greens, carrot, beet, cucumber” and you can choose your own dressing.

The Blue Stove on 220 Broadway provides varied main courses from salads like their roasted garlic chicken to cherry glazed beef and cilantro lime chicken tacos.

But if you’d like a free Thanksgiving dinner with some good company, the community dinners held locally are the way to go. According to Tim McGrath, the visitors aren’t treated as ordinary customers but as guests at a restaurant.

“We seat them, and we bring the food,” he said. “No one has to get up, they’re really our guests.”

Jose GutierrezComment