Thanksgiving meals for veterans

Connecting Vets
November 20, 2019 - 1:44 pm

Image courtesy of Dreamstime


Need a place to celebrate Thanksgiving and grab a hot meal? Check out our list of options for veterans-- though not all completely free, they do offer some great options for those looking for a place to eat. 

Photo courtesy of Stephen Standifird

Local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and American Legion (AL) Posts  – Every year most of these posts prepare Thanksgiving meals for free.  You do need a valid membership or can be signed in as a guest of another veteran. (Contact your local VFW or AL for their specific event, volunteer assistance needed and/or meal price and/or food donations needed.)

Military Base Thanksgiving– On Thanksgiving Day all branches of the military prepare a holiday meal at their dining facilities-- it’s not free, however, it is usually very inexpensive compared to dining off base in a restaurant and if you have no family or friends to celebrate with it’s the perfect place to feel at home.  Veterans can also sign guests in to enjoy the meal with them. According to recent military regulations, Thanksgiving is considered a “special meal’ and open to retired military personnel/veterans when a dining facility does not exceed 100 percent utilization rate. (Check with your local military base to see what they have planned for Thanksgiving.)

Operation Homefront - Operation Homefront runs Meals for the Military and has a registration page on their website to connect you with the events in your local community.

Operation We Are Here - Operation We Are Here hosts a number of Thanksgiving meal options, from sourcing meals out to the community or connecting them with veterans and servicemembers that need a meal, to coordinating free turkey giveaways. 

Veterans Service Organizations – There are many veterans service organizations both nationally and locally.  You can find an accredited VSO list here but there are many great organizations, especially local, that provide services to veterans as well. (A quick Google of Veterans organizations plus your city name should get you there.)

Photo courtesy of U.S. Army
You can help as well! Although there are many organizations that register and coordinate Thanksgiving meals for veterans within local communities, don't hesitate to reach out to volunteer in your own way. From helping out at an event like So Others Might Eat (a food drive and 5k that feeds not only veterans but the general homeless population) to choosing to invite any veterans you may know into your home for Thanksgiving-- just remember to be thankful for their sacrifices, your freedom, and the opportunity to spend time together.


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