Annual Community Thanksgiving Day Meal

Call to collaborative action ::

  • Narrative introduction | "Now more than ever"

  • Slide show of past meal experiences and collaboration

  • Description of needs : volunteer jobs & donations

  • online form to fill out to help as a volunteer


Introduction: "Now more than ever"

Now more than ever we need to experience the community creating power of empathy.  As the election seasons draws to a close we have the chance to move into that of the holidays.  For many it’s a respite, a change of daily rhythms and routines, an opportunity to connect with distant family or rarely seen friends.  Our culture also pulls us to recognizing the other in our society.  Some call it welcoming the stranger, others express it as a chance to give back from our fortune or abundance.  You don’t have to go far to do such acts of kindness and social action.  You can make a difference in the life of another, as well as in your own, right here in North Oakland. 

For over 30 years, the College Avenue Presbyterian Church community has been hosting an annual Thanksgiving Day Community Meal.  Initially begun to build a deeper sense of community in our neighborhood and to respond to concrete needs, the meal continues year in and year out working towards that consistent and morphing goal.  It began when the Rockridge Community was emerging from the shadow of the neighborhood transformation caused by the building of Highway 24 and the BART Station.  It provided a space for our larger community: business and residential, homed and homeless, to connect and collaborate together around a common goal.  Today we often hear talk of gentrification, of residents not being part of their neighborhood or knowing who their neighborhood is.  The annual Thanksgiving Meal is an unique organic opportunity to connect with neighbors new and old, homed and homeless, young and older, to respond to our hungers for food, relationship, and a safe place on a holiday.

This Thanksgiving, College Avenue Presbyterian Church will again be hosting its annual Thanksgiving Day Community Meal on Thanksgiving Day, November 24th   from 11am-1pm at 5951 College Avenue.  The meal is a joint project with diverse members of our Rockridge Community, involving congregational members, local merchants and local residents.  In our current economic and political climate, it is an opportunity for our to gather as a community to respond to the needs of those struggling with hunger, solitude and joblessness. The meal generally serves between 200-300 people with well over 50 volunteers gathered in the shared desire to make this event possible.  The meal is open and free for everyone.  Donations of money and food are gratefully accepted.  It’s because of such donations that the meal takes place.  You can also give of your time.  Help is needed beginning Monday, November 21st  through Wednesday the 23rd to prepare, set-up and decorate the church gym for the meal.  Significant help is needed the day of the event to set-up, cook, serve and also clean-up.  The latter requires the most work and often is the one the least amount of people want to do! Visit the Thanksgiving section on the church website at to sign up for a volunteer slot or to make a donation; or the church office at  or (510) 658-3665.

- Rev. Monte McClain


HOW YOU CAN HELP We need help to

Help the meal take shape : This year we're trying to organize things differently to involve our wider community in the meal effort, not just the week and day of thanksgiving, but in general and overall. The meal is about feeding people, responding to the hungers of the homed and homeless; and also responding to the hungers of various people to give back, pay grace forward, be part of a relational network using our powers for good here in Oakland.  Any and all people who want to help in this capacity are invited to join us for an early organizing meeting at CAPC Oakland in the sanctuary.  This will be a time shaped with including and empowering children (down to elementary school age) as well: 

  • Wednesday, October 9, 7:30pm at our place - 5951 College Ave, 94618

Prepare the meal in advance : cutting up vegetables, peeling potatoes, prepping pots, pans, etc.  This is work that can be done by adults and children, and requires no advanced cooking skills.

  • the evening of Tuesday, November 22
  • the evening of Wednesday, November 23

The day of Thanksgiving and the meal :  this includes plating food, decorating the gym, setting up tables and chairs, serving the meal and drinks, welcoming guests, eating with those who come, and also cleaning up at the end.  We generally have three shifts or "windows" during which we invite people to come and help:

  • early set up & decorating - 6am-10am
  • welcoming, seating and serving folks 10:30am-1:00pm
  • clean-up (can start during the meal) 12:30pm-2:00pm

We also need financial help.  This annual event costs roughly $750-$1,000 to make happen.   We estimate that $2.50 pays for a thanksgiving meal with all the fixins per person. Part of our church budget is allocated to empowering this community gathering event, we also take tax deductible financial contributions from local merchants, non-profits and residents. We have two options which you can use to donate financially: 


  • You can mail a check to our office at 5951 College Ave, Oakland CA 94618 (be sure to make it payable to CAPC Oakland, but with a memo note "Thanksgiving Meal"


  • You also can give directly online safely through paypal to make the meal possible.

Sign Up Electronically Below to Volunteer with our Thanksgiving Meal Effort

Be sure to hit the "submit" button at the end to complete your signup.

Name *
Please sign up for the time window during which you want to volunteer. You have to fill out an electronic form for each different time you might like to volunteer.
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This list is a way for us to mobilize and implicate those who want to help with issues related to food justice and social action here in Oakland. Click this box if so. We won't share your personal information with any outside agencies or sollicitors. You can unsubscribe at any time.


Another Community Meal that always need help is the annual one at 

1-4pm on Thanksgiving Day, 
Thursday, November 24, 2015

Two Star Market
2020 MacArthur Blvd.
Oakland, Ca