Presbyterian Church Hosts Its Annual Thanksgiving Meal

Monday, November 16, 2015

We are faced these days with great challenges whose magnitude can push us toward apathy, indifference and inaction: gentrification; failing schools; ecological collapse; food injustice; racial profiling; homelessness; financial inequality; and the deafening isolation of social media. These forces can make us believe we are impotent to make a difference, or to have a voice in our world. We can"t let this boisterous brouhaha keep us from being present. There is no room for apathy in our great and changing city of Oakland.

For 31 years, the College Avenue Presbyterian Church community (CAPC) has hosted an annual Thanksgiving Day Community Meal. Begun to build a deeper sense of community in our neighborhood and to respond to public needs, the annual meal continues to work toward that goal. It began when the Rockridge community was emerging from the shadow of the neighborhood transformation caused by the construction of Highway 24 and the Rockridge BART station in the late 1960's and into the mid-1970's. The meal provided a space for our larger community - business and residential; homed and homeless - to connect and to collaborate around a common goal. Today we hear talk of gentrification, of residents not being part of their neighborhood or knowing who their neighbors are. The Thanksgiving Meal is a unique opportunity to join with neighbors new and old, homed and homeless, young and older, to respond to our hungers for food, relationship, and a safe place on a holiday.

This Thanksgiving, CAPC holds its annual meal Thursday, November 26, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at 5951 College Avenue. It is a joint project with members of our Rockridge community - congregational members, local merchants, and local residents - pitching in. It is an opportunity for us to gather as a community to respond to the needs of those who are struggling.

The meal generally serves between 200 and 300 people as more than 50 volunteers gather to make this event possible. The meal is open and free to everyone. Donations of money and food are gratefully accepted and ensure the meal can take place. You can also give of your time. Help is needed beginning Monday, November 23, through Wednesday the 25th to prepare, set up and decorate the church gym. Significant help is needed the day of the event to set up, cook, serve and clean up. (The latter requires the most work and often is the one the fewest number of people sign up for.)

Visit the Thanksgiving section on the church website at to sign up for a volunteer slot or to make a donation; or contact the church office at or 510/658-3665.