Seniors will be treated to a free Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings as the 26th annual Senior Thanksgiving Dinner returns on Nov. 21 as a drive-thru and delivery meal this year.

Marv Williamson, president of Rotary Club of Tracy Sunrise, said this is the fifth year the club is organizing the dinner, which is open to Tracy area seniors 50-years-and-older. Out of precaution due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the dinner will be a drive-thru pickup or home delivered by volunteers just like last year.

“There are a lot of seniors who couldn’t come to the event in person. It was more difficult for them. Couple that with giving seniors the service they like, half of our dinners were delivered to them, a couple of hundred or so,” Williamson said.

The club’s 24 members, plus a host of additional volunteers including high school students, expect to serve more than 400 turkey dinners with all the trimmings in their biggest community service project of the year.

“Just giving back to the community – and especially in this case the seniors who a lot of time struggle with things – and just the personal relationships, some of them that we have developed over the years, have been really rewarding for us,” Williamson said. “It’s just been fantastic for us. And some of our kids participate in it and get to see what we do, and the gratitude we get out of it, and it’s transferring to our next generation.”

Seniors can sign up now to either drive down to the Portuguese Hall, 400W. Ninth Street, at 5 p.m. on the Nov. 21, or to have a meal delivered to their home.

Jolene Jauregui-Correll, recreations services supervisor at the Lolly Hansen Senior Center, said seniors have been looking forward to the annual dinner.

“They have been excited because I would say since October they were asking already to sign up,” Jauregui-Correll said. “They did it last year, a little modified similar to this, and we had a huge signup last year so they were excited to have it return just because some of them are getting a nice hot meal that some of them can’t prepare for themselves.”

Seniors can call 831-6240, send an email to tracyseniorcenter@cityoftracy.org or stop by the senior center, 375 E. Ninth Street, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday to sign up for a dinner.

Signups for the dinner close at 4 p.m. on Nov. 19.

“We’re just really grateful for the partnership with Sunrise Rotary to offer this event,” Jauregui-Correll said.

Williamson said they are still looking for donations of fresh and frozen turkeys for the dinner.

“We’ve always had enough but you never know because it’s an all of a sudden thing, so we have gotten donations that covered it.

Williamson expects club members will be cooking more than 60 turkeys in preparation for the meals.

Frozen turkeys need to be dropped off to the Portuguese Hall between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Thursday and fresh turkeys will be accepted between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Friday.

Club members will cook the turkeys on Saturday with the rest of the dinner, including mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and the rest of the trimmings prepared Sunday morning.

Members of the Millennium and Kimball High Interact Club, a high school version of Rotary, will help at the dinner, joining a group of about 75 to 100 people that will cook and assemble and distribute the meals.

An assembly line will fill the to-go meal boxes for the dinner and ready them for drive-through distribution or home delivery.

Animal Rescue of Tracy will provide bags with dog and cat food along with treats for the pets of seniors.

The club is also in need of volunteers to help deliver the meals next Sunday. Anyone interested in driving meals to seniors can call 209-329-6213.

• Contact the Tracy Press at tpnews@tracypress.com or 209-835-3030.

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