Churches, restaurants and other organizations are working to ensure all families will be able to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal.

Hundreds of free meals will be given to needy individuals this week thanks to the efforts of countless volunteers.

Two downtown churches – State Street United Methodist Church and First Christian Church of Bowling Green – are working together to deliver and hand out meals Thursday.

While they will not hold their annual Thanksgiving dinner in-person, carryout and deliveries will be available for the general public.

First Christian Church Associate Minister the Rev. Kyle McDougall said the two churches will make nearly 1,000 meal deliveries on Thanksgiving.

“First of all, I think it is important as downtown churches we support each other,” McDougall said. “That’s really nice that we support each other despite us being different denominations. There is just a lot of people who need food, and there is a lot of food insecurity in Bowling Green.

“It’s just important for people to have that meal,” she said. “We have everything anyone could want for Thanksgiving. It gets a lot of people involved. A lot of people like to sign up and do the food prep. It’s a good atmosphere.”

Essity, a global hygiene and health company with manufacturing operations in Bowling Green, will provide 300 meals as part of the churches’ efforts.

McDougall said Essity donated $1,000 toward the meal and that extra funding helped cover the higher costs of meat this year.

“They helped out last year, and we are grateful for that funding,” she said. “We planned for 1,300 meals to be given out this year. I want to say thank you to all the volunteers in the community for supporting this meal for several years.”

State Street United Methodist Church Director of Discipleship & Missions Jennifer Dickinson said those interested in picking up a meal can enter the church through the glass doors on East 11th Avenue.

“We will have signs directing everyone,” Dickinson said. “It’s really neat. It still amazes me how many people step out to help on Thanksgiving Day. We were kind of low on volunteers, and it was unbelievable how quickly people responded when we asked.”

The carryout option will be available from 10:30 a.m. to noon at State Street United Methodist Church.

Lisa’s Fifth Street Diner and Teresa’s Restaurant will also be providing free meals to the public on Thanksgiving.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, anyone is free to visit Lisa’s at 430 Center St. for a Thanksgiving meal that includes turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, dessert and a drink.

Around 25 volunteers will be present on Thanksgiving to make enough meals for nearly 400 people who are expected to stop by.

“Down here where we are at, you see so many homeless people,” owner Lisa Parker said. “Every day we are feeding homeless people. It breaks my heart. I just can’t stand to see people hungry and along. But this is not just for homeless people. It’s for anyone.”

More information on Fifth Street Diner can be found at www.restaurantji.com/ky/bowling-green/fifth-street-diner-/.

Teresa’s Restaurant at 509 Gordon Ave. will be offering a Thanksgiving meal buffet-style from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday.

Manager Keri McGuffey said they are preparing to feed around 300 people.

Warren County Public Schools delivered 260 turkeys and 300 food boxes this week to local families.

“Obviously, we want to give all of our children and even playing field,” WCPS spokeswoman Lauren Thurmond said. “And it’s important to reach out to our families around the holidays and give them food and resources they might need.”

– Follow reporter John Reecer on Twitter @JReecerBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com.

– Follow reporter John Reecer on Twitter @JReecerBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com.