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Churches are holding holiday dinners and local food pantries are looking for volunteers and donations.

PIONEER GRAPHIC - Local churches are holding Thanksgiving meals in the next week and food pantries are looking for donations. It seems each year the holiday spirit motivates communities to jump in and get involved. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, different places and groups around Madras are hosting meals, taking donations and looking for some help.

Mission Church, in downtown Madras, will be holding a community Thanksgiving meal that's open to the public after its Sunday service Nov. 24. Bringing a dish to share at the potluck style meal, set to begin around 11:30 a.m., is not required; however it is welcomed.

Madras Gospel Mission is hosting a community Thanksgiving meal from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27, at the MGM Community Center, 164 SE D St.

All are welcome to join in the meal and time of thanksgiving, and there will also be a Communion worship service after the meal at 7 p.m.

MGM is supplying the turkeys and hams for the meal but is looking for help providing side dishes and help with serving the meal. To find out how to provide a side dish or to volunteer to serve the meal, call the MGM office at 541-475-2064.

Local food banks and pantries are also looking for help. And while they are always looking for assistance, there tends to be a bigger gap to fill heading into the winter months, and the need doesn't go away the day after Thanksgiving.

Paul Rueter, director of the Jefferson County Food Bank, said the nonprofit always accepts donations of nonperishables and always needs people to help out on regular distribution days, Tuesdays from 12:30-5 p.m.

He said there is definitely an ongoing need for food items, as well as products such as toilet paper and other essentials that people don't often think about. "As we get into the winter months, there is more of a need," Rueter said.

If no one is at the office, Rueter said people often leave donations by the door of the facility at 556 SE Seventh St. He said people can also call him to figure out a way to make a donation. Rueter can be reached at 541-419-0590.

Also, the Madras Community Food Pantry, located inside the United Methodist Church is accepting nonperishable donations. Donations can be dropped off at the church, located just across the street from St. Charles Madras, during office hours from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.

For Thanksgiving, the pantry will have turkeys and different side dishes available for clients from 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26.

For more information on how to donate to the pantry or to volunteer, call 541-475-2150.

The Community Food Network is accepting nonperishable donations as well, at the Madras Free Methodist Church, 976 Adams Drive, during office hours, which run from 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Thursday, with the exception of Thanksgiving Day. For more information on how to help or for questions, call Bill Wienert at 541-410-3635.

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