If you’re looking for a free thanksgiving dinner near you, there are no options closer than in your own home! We have found 7 options for free meals all around the US.
In 2020, Ibotta and Walmart have teamed up to provide everyone with a free Thanksgiving dinner when you shop through the Ibotta app. Of course, this only helps if you can’t afford Thanksgiving dinner. If you can’t cook it in your home, we have additional options for you as well.
Free Thanksgiving Dinner from Ibotta & Walmart
The rewarded shopping app Ibotta has partnered with Walmart to offer 100% cash back on Thanksgiving dinner essentials. Although you will have to pay for the meal upfront, you will receive a 100% refund through the Ibotta app when you scan your receipt!
New users can redeem this offer through the app or browser extension starting on November 1st, 2020. Existing users will only be able to redeem this offer through the browser extension after November 4th, 2020.
If you’ve never used Ibotta before, it’s very easy. You can download the app for iOS or Android mobile devices (or use the browser extension if you’re on a desktop or laptop computer).
When you shop at Walmart and use Ibotta’s rewarded shopping app, you can claim a free Thanksgiving dinner for five that includes:
- Free Turkey! (Butterball Turkey Roast)
- Free Stuffing! (Great Value 6 ounce Stuffing Mix)
- Free Mashed Potatoes and Gravy! (Idahoan 8oz Mashed Potatoes and McCormick 0.87oz Gravy)
- Free Cranberry Sauce! (Great Value 14oz Cranberry Sauce)
- Free Green Bean Casserole! (Great Value 12oz Green Beans, French’s 2.8oz Crispy Green Onions, Campbell’s 10oz Cream of Mushroom Soup)
- Free Soda! (2 Liter Coca Cola)
Once you’ve downloaded the app, you’ll add all nine free Thanksgiving offers to your shopping list. Go to the store, buy the items (make sure to get the right brand and sizes) and then scan your receipt to get fully refunded for the eligible items you purchased!
Remember, each item is limited to one redemption per user. According to CNBC, at least one million people are expected to be fed through this program this year.
What size is the free turkey?
When you select your free turkey, there’s something you need to know. The offer is intended to reimburse the price of a 3 pound Butterball turkey breast roast, which includes a gravy packet. However, if you need a larger turkey, you can purchase a larger Butterball whole turkey instead and claim $9.98 cash back on that purchase.
You are not required to get all of the items!
If you don’t want or need some of these items, then you do not have to buy them all. These are nine individual offers, and you can choose to redeem one, a few, or all of them. It’s entirely up to you!
However, I recommend purchasing all of the items and redeeming them for cash back. Ibotta has a minimum $20 threshold for withdrawing cash and the anticipated total value of these free Thanksgiving offers is $20.27. This way, you’ll enjoy more free food and you won’t have to worry about clearing any hurdles to get your cash back.
It’s important to remember these four things.
Remember, in order to get 100% cash back on your Thanksgiving dinner, you will need to make sure that you have installed the Ibotta app and shopped at Walmart and bought the right items, brands and sizes. You also have to make sure that you redeem you receipt within seven days of purchase!
Catholic Charities offers Thanksgiving meals.
Catholic Charities is a nationwide organization that offers local assistance to low income households during the holidays. Like other large organizations, their assistance programs vary depending on your location.
For example, in Oswego County, NY, they are offering Thanksgiving food boxes from their food pantries. They must be picked up on specific dates, depending on your family size.
In Las Vegas, the Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada will distribute food boxes through a local food pantry. They will also host a free Thanksgiving dinner for approximately 1,000 homeless and vulnerable people and send an additional 2,400 holiday meals to homebound seniors through a local meal delivery program.
You will need to contact your local Catholic Charities in order to see what is available in your area this holiday season.
Salvation Army usually provides Thanksgiving meals.
The Salvation Army has a nationwide presence but their programs are operated by local chapters. Many, if not most, of them offer free Thanksgiving food assistance.
If you need help with your holiday meal, please reach out to your local Salvation Army and inquire about their programs. Salvation Army chapters are also well connected to your local community and may be able to point you in the right direction for even more help.
St. Vincent de Paul offers Thanksgiving food boxes.
The St. Vincent de Paul Society exists across the United States but they offer different services in different areas. For example:
In Idaho, St. Vincent de Paul offers food boxes for families in need. The food boxes include a turkey (minimum 10 pounds), potatoes (minimum 1- pounds), a roasting pan and all the trimmings.
In San Mateo County, California, the local St. Vincent de Paul has decided against handling groceries directly. Instead, they are gathering funds so that they can distribute gift cards to families in need instead.
Based on my research, it does appear that most St. Vincent de Paul chapters will be opting to provide food boxes this holiday season.
Seniors and disabled people may be eligible for home delivery.
Meals on Wheels and similar programs provide critical resources to those who are homebound, disabled, or unable to prepare their own meals at home. If you need help with Thanksgiving dinner and can’t visit an on-site service, contact your local Meals on Wheels program or Agency on Aging Center for more information.
Many of these home delivery services will deliver a cold, pre-made meal before the holiday. The meal is usually already assembled and can simply be heated up in the microwave.
Local food pantries may provide free Thanksgiving dinner.
Food pantries across America provide free Thanksgiving dinners to low income families and individuals. Many food pantries will provide a free Thanksgiving turkey, as well as some essential side dishes like potatoes, canned cranberry sauce, stuffing and green beans. Some food banks offer grocery store vouchers for free turkeys instead.
Of course, each of these programs is very local and dependent on donations. It is important to contact your local food bank in advance to see what they are able to offer.
We will list food banks here as we are able to confirm their 2020 offerings. However, we recommend reaching out to your local United Way 211 service if we don’t have anything listed in your area.
- Alphabretta: North Fulton Community Charity (NFCC) provides free Thanksgiving food and Christmas assistance. You must be a resident of Fulton County and meet other requirements to participate. Learn more – and register online – here.
- Lawrenceville: Streetwise Mobile Thanksgiving Food Pantry will provide take-home meal boxes to registered families. you must register in advance. In addition, The GracePointe Community Church will also be hosting a drive-by Thanksgiving Meal Box giveaway on Saturday, November 21, 2020. You must register in advance for this.
NY, Parish: Seniors are welcome to get cost-free dinners from Altmar-Parish-Williamstown High School! The meals include turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, squash, vegetables, rolls, condiments and pie for dessert. You must call before November 4, 2020.
SC, Knightsville: The Knightsville Baptist Church is providing free make-at-home turkey dinners! The meals will include a free turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, mac and cheese, brownies and more! You will need to sign up in advance in order to pick up the meal on Saturday, November 21, 2020.
Local soup kitchens and meal sites may offer hot meals.
Soup kitchens and congregate meal sites have been a staple of the low income community’s Thanksgiving plans for years. Unfortunately, the pandemic response has drastically limited the number of people that can gather in one place. It’s important to call ahead and confirm the details of any soup kitchen or congregate meal site you plan to visit in 2020.
However, we have confirmed that some soup kitchens and hot meal sites are still offering free Thanksgiving dinners. Many have adapted their usual community dinners to meet the unique restrictions of 2020.
Please reach out to United Way’s 211 service to find organizations in your area that provide free holiday meals. If you find some that aren’t on our list, please let us know!
Here are few programs that we were able to confirm thus far.
DC: Food & Friends will home-deliver 3,500 free Thanksgiving meals with turkey, side dishes and pie. You will need to contact the organization for more information.
- Chicago: Tapas Valencia is offering 500 free Thanksgiving dinners. You must call in advance to register, and then pick up your meal at your scheduled time.
- Elk Grove Village: Christus Victor Lutheran Church is offering free Thanksgiving dinners by pick-up only. You must register in advance for a designated drive-thru pickup time. The meal is prepared by tasty Catering, Avalon & Belvdedere Banquets, and Jarosch Bakery. The meal will include turkey, stuffing, gravy, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and a dessert.
MA, Brookline: The United Parish in Brookline is operating their annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner by delivery only on November 26, 2020. The delivered meals will be cooked, prepared and assembled by volunteers. Each meal will include turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans and pie. You will need to RSVP on their website to get a meal delivered to you. Limit one meal per person.
ME, Waterville: The Alfond Youth and Community Center will be handing out up to 800 individually-packaged meals on Saturday, November 21. Simply drive up and tell them how many meals you need.
NY, Patchogue: The “In Harmony Toastgiving Event” will be hosted by the Toast Coffeehouse and Harmony Cafe on 11/24/2020. This free Thanksgiving dinner is designed to help those who are struggling, newly unemployed, frontline workers or just people who need some help. You can RSVP here.
OH, Findlay: The StoneBridge Church will be operating their annual Community Thanksgiving Meal by delivery and drive-thru only on November 26, 2020. No dine-in services will be available. Delivery is only available within Findlay city limits. You will need to register on their website to claim your meal.
TN, Rogersville: People Loving People will serve their 17th annual free Thanksgiving dinner this year. Dinner will be served on November 26, 2020, from 11am to 2pm. Transportation may be available to those who need it.
WI, Sheboygan: The Free Thanksgiving Dinner that has been offered