BELOIT—“The homeless have to have a holiday season. Just because they are homeless doesn’t mean they are excluded from the holidays.”

That’s what volunteer Darrell Garetson said about helping to put together a carry-out Thanksgiving feast for the homeless, those without cooking facilities and those who want a little cheer this holiday season. Using public transportation, Garetson is working to round up donations for the dinner when not planning his Salvation Army bell ringing schedule or volunteering at the House of Mercy Homeless Center.

Garetson is one of many volunteers helping to put on the carryout dinner. The Overflowing Cup Total Life Center is seeking turkeys and other food and donations for its free Thanksgiving Day meal put on in conjunction with the Masonic Lodge. The event will be carryout style, where people will be able to pick up the food to take home in light of the pandemic, according to Overflowing Cup Pastor Dave Fogderud and Garetson.

There also will be delivery drivers shuttling out meals to shut-ins.

The seventh annual turkey dinner, always held on Thanksgiving Day, is expected to have a higher-than-usual turnout because some churches and organizations are scaling back on turkey dinners due to COVID-19.

The free Thanksgiving Day meal is set for 11 a.m.—2 p.m. on Nov. 26 at Masonic Lodge, 229 W. Grand Ave.

Organizers are preparing to serve 250 people.

“Volunteers will hand out the food, all boxed and ready to go,” Dave Fogderud said.

The event is designed for those in need, those who want company and those who cannot cook or don’t have a place to make a meal, added volunteer Diana Fogderud.

Garetson said organizers need at least 300 cookies and about 15 turkeys and also at least 15 quart-size or large containers of chicken broth which is used in the cooking process. People can cook the turkeys or give a frozen one to be cooked at the lodge.

Garetson said Old Fashion Bakery of Beloit donated 275 dinner rolls, and Fogderud said Apple Hut donated a pickup truck full of apples.

Garetson said he is still working on getting individually wrapped cookies or other desserts.

The menu will be potatoes and gravy, turkey, green beans and corn and stuffing, sweet potatoes and cranberry. Butter, containers and utensil donations also are being collected.

People can drop off turkeys, or food gift cards to the Overflowing Cup, 1175 S. Madison Road. People can call 608-365-0365 to schedule a turkey drop-off or to have someone pick it up or to get more information.

Volunteer Wendy Laird of the Masonic Lodge encourages people to call her if they are interested in being delivery drivers for the event. Laird’s number is 815-389-3203.