This Thanksgiving, the financial struggles felt by so many New Jerseyans during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic mean even more people are in need of a holiday meal than recent years, according to food pantry volunteers.

On Saturday, the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, in Hillside, held a large-scale, drive-through holiday food distribution event, serving 2,500 Union County families with turkeys, holiday meal kits and fresh produce ahead of the Thursday holiday.

In Monmouth County on Thanksgiving (Nov. 26), there are two diners offering walk-in customers a free Thanksgiving meal.

All Seasons Diners in Eatontown and Freehold will be offering free meals from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday. According to their website, "Dine-in only will be available and customers will be served on a first-come first-serve basis; reservations will not be accepted. Gratuities for the staff are welcomed."

There also are a variety of locations offering pickup of "to-go" style meals, as coronavirus cases continue to spike in the state's second wave, with the CDC and state health officials urging any celebrations to be as small as possible.

For all pick-up events, visitors are urged to wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines.

Jersey Shore Dream Center (Monmouth County)
Thanksgiving Community Dinner To Go
Tuesday, Nov. 24
Trinity Church, 503 Asbury Ave., Asbury Park 5 p.m. until 6 p.m.
Springwood Park, 126 Atkins Ave. Asbury Park 6 p.m. until 7 p.m.

Lunch Break (Monmouth County)
Thanksgiving Meals To Go
Thursday, Nov. 26, 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
121 DRS James Parker Blvd, Red Bank 07701
732-747-8577

Simon's Soup Kitchen (Ocean County)
Thanksgiving Day dinner distribution
Thursday, Nov. 26, 2 p.m. until 3 p.m.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish Center, 100 Grant Ave., Seaside Heights
732-270-5941

Cathedral Kitchen (Camden County)
Thanksgiving “to-go meals,” plus bags with personal items/blankets
Thursday, Nov. 26 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.
1514 Federal St., Camden
856-964-6771

Bethany Grace Community Church (Cumberland County)
Thanksgiving Grab N’ Go Dinner Bowls
31 N. Pearl St., Bridgeton
Thursday, Nov. 26 starting at noon
Dinners are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis while supplies last.
1-855-818-3810 ext. 707

St. John’s Pentecostal Outreach Church/Food Pantry (Salem County)
Wednesday, Nov. 25 starting at 1 p.m.
22 New Market St., Salem
856-935-1445

As shared by Fulfill, there are Thanksgiving meals to-go at the following locations:

Good Hope Baptist Church (Monmouth County)
Thursday, Nov. 26, 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.
1306 Washington Ave., Asbury Park
732-988-0290

Saint Mark's Episcopal Church (Monmouth County)
Thursday, Nov. 26, noon until 1 p.m.
247 Carr Ave., Keansburg
732-787-3520

Both of the JBJ Soul Kitchen locations (Red Bank and Toms River) will be closed on Thursday and Friday,  in observance of Thanksgiving. According to its website "As always, we have made sure our in-need patrons are taken care of during these closures."

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