As Thanksgiving draws nearer, Everybody Eats is getting meals ready. Everybody Eats is planning to serve more than 1,500 people this year. 

The annual community dinner will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thanksgiving Day at the Columbia Senior Activities Center, 1121 Business Loop 70 E. 

All are welcome to the community dinner. 

Almeta Crayton, Columbia's first black councilwoman, started the Everybody Eats event 22 years ago to distribute meals "to those who did not have the means to experience the abundance affiliated with this festive holiday," according to the Almeta Crayton's Community Programs website

After Crayton died in 2013, the organization was created in her honor by her godson, Kentrell Minton, to carry on the tradition. 

“So much is happening right now,” Minton said. “It’s time for us to come together and time for us to love. 

“There are people who have volunteered and donated in the past who are telling me this year they’re struggling and that they are going to need a basket themselves,” he added.

In addition to the Columbia Senior Activities Center, Thanksgiving Day meals will be served by the organization at other locations, including: 

  • Paquin Tower.
  • Oak Towers.
  • The Salvation Army Harbor House.
  • Welcome Home.
  • Columbia Police.
  • University Hospital.
  • Women's and Children's Hospital.

Event organizers are still looking for volunteers to help prepare meals and serve. Any wishing to volunteer can apply on the organization's website. 

Food — especially turkey and desserts — and monetary donations are also needed. According to the organization's Facebook page, food can be donated at "all three Columbia Moser's locations." 

The turkeys and desserts are needed especially for premade meals, including delivered meals, which are reserved "for the sick and shut-in" and require "prior arrangements being made," according to the website. 

Dates and times for the meals that will be delivered: 

  • 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. 
  • 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday.

The make-up delivery day will be 2-7 p.m. next Tuesday.

Monetary donations can be submitted online or mailed to P.O. Box 332, Columbia, MO 65205.

Will Okay contributed to this report. 

Supervising editor is Fred Anklam Jr.

  • Community reporter, fall 2019 Studying news editing Reach me at, or in the newsroom at 882-5700

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