“There is definitely a need”: Giving Heart’s 2021 Thanksgiving feast will feed more people than ever

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Richmond, Va. (WRIC) — RVA’s largest Thanksgiving day feast will be bigger than ever this year. 4,000 meals will be prepared, a thousand more than last year. 

Turkey shortages are still making headlines — and 8News may have found the culprit.

“I have 500 turkeys coming in so if you’ve been missing turkeys that’s where they’re at,” joked Vicky Nielsen, the founder and lead organizer. 

At her Rockville home, Nielsen is revving up for her largest thanksgiving meal giveaway ever. 

“There is definitely a need,” she said. “I’m just so glad that through our donors and through our volunteers, we’re able to say we recognize that this is happening in our community, and we want to do something about it.”

Because of COVID-19, dining in will still not be an option, so the setup will look similar to the feast in 2020. To guarantee a meal, people should sign up for curbside pick-up online. You can also just walk in on Thanksgiving day on a first-come, first-served basis. 

“This is open to anyone,” Nielsen said. 

Thanks to early planning, food shortages haven’t made an impact, according to the founder. However, she said some supplies, like containers, are still hard to find and pricier than in previous years. Nielsen said a limited amount of vegan meals will be available if you sign up online.

Not just meals are up for grabs. Items like blankets, some clothes, and snacks have also been donated. There are also some new additions to this years’ feast. 

There are also new partnerships between The Giving Heart and other organizations to help the event go smoothly. Nielsen said local groups of culinary students from Henrico to Fort Lee will be helping prepare the food and help with clean up.

The organizer wants to give all the food out and encourages people to sign up for curbside pickup to guarantee a meal. 

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