Riverside church offers Thanksgiving meals for 35th year

In person or delivered, a Riverside church offered Thanksgiving meals for the needy for the 35th time.

Central Community Christian Fellowship Church hosted its annual Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday, Nov. 24, providing the community with free meals. Some meals were delivered by volunteers; others were enjoyed at the church.

Volunteers serve pie during the 35th annual Thanksgiving Dinner at the Central Community Christian Fellowship Church in Riverside on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Volunteers load Thanksgiving meals into the back of a truck during the 35th annual Thanksgiving Dinner at the Central Community Christian Fellowship Church in Riverside on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

An assembly line of volunteers pack Thanksgiving meals for delivery during the 35th annual Thanksgiving Dinner at the Central Community Christian Fellowship Church in Riverside on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Alessandro Gordillo carries a stack of Thanksgiving meals as volunteers prepare meals for delivery during the 35th annual Thanksgiving Dinner at the Central Community Christian Fellowship Church in Riverside on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Bryan Brown moves a stack of Thanksgiving meals as volunteers prepare meals for delivery during the 35th annual Thanksgiving Dinner at the Central Community Christian Fellowship Church in Riverside on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Volunteers pack meals for delivery during the 35th annual Thanksgiving Dinner at the Central Community Christian Fellowship Church in Riverside on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Oscar Ambrossi, 21, grabs bags of Thanksgiving meals before delivering them to families during the 35th annual Thanksgiving Dinner at the Central Community Christian Fellowship Church in Riverside on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

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The event started in 1988 after a friend of the church proposed the idea, Pastor Eric M. Denton said. Deliveries began in the early ’90s, when the dinner idea “blew up,” Denton wrote in an email.

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“We’ve been doing between 3 and 4,000 meals per year ever since,” he said.

Other organizations across the Inland Empire prepared food for their communities, including an event staged Monday, Nov. 21, by Dignity Health’s Community Hospital in San Bernardino.