Have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving Weekend

Thanksgiving gives us the chance to gather around a beautiful meal, spend some quality time together, and count all the things we’re grateful for. It’s also a time to think about others in our communities and share our blessings.

This 2022 holiday season it’s time to focus on whatever makes your heart happy. That good feeling can be found by hosting dinner, spending time with friends or spreading joy by giving back in your community. No matter how you decide to celebrate, food remains at the center of all the good that comes with the holiday season.

A Message from Oregon Department of Transportation

Cars make their way through a snowy Santiam Pass. Signage indicates they're traveling in a snow zone and overhead VMS warns: Snow zone - chains required.

Many holiday travelers will flock to the roads this week, but wet, snowy weather could gobble up your plans if you aren’t prepared. Our crews work through the feasting to keep your travels safe, but we could use your help. If there’s snow or a crash, continued staffing shortages mean we may need more time to clear roads.

We’re working to fill current vacant positions, but you should be prepared for less snow plowing. Please be courteous and patient with our crews, whether they are plowing or flagging traffic – we have a shared goal to keep you moving.

Here are some trip tips for #TurkeyDay travel:

🦃 This week is one of the busiest travel times of the year, regardless of conditions. Expect delays, plan ahead, and allow extra travel time.

🦃 Be careful when traveling over mountain passes. Check TripCheck.com for road conditions. Many camera displays include temperature and other helpful information.

🦃 Pay attention to roadside message signs. They contain critical information about conditions on the road ahead, like chain requirements.

🦃 Be ready for wintry road conditions. Carry chains and know how to use them. In case of major delays, pack supplies for you and your passengers such as food, water, blankets, warm clothes and medications.

🦃 Drive for conditions. Rain, snow, or extra traffic – slow down and give space for more stopping time, especially if the road is slick.

🦃 Give snowplows extra space and never pass on the right. Be patient. The safest place to be when it’s snowing is BEHIND a plow.

🦃 Don’t be a turkey! Make sure there’s a sober, focused and alert driver behind the wheel to help you get to and from your destinations.

🦃 Watch out for the whole flock and keep a lookout for pedestrians and cyclists who are often less visible in wintery weather.No matter how or where you travel in Oregon, be prepared for changing conditions. Let’s look out for each other, our crews, and emergency responders on the road. Everyone deserves a safe holiday weekend.

Free Thanksgiving Meals in the Rogue Valley:

Tuesday Nov. 22 from 4 to 5:30 p.m., Peace House’s Uncle Foods Diner will have a traditional Thanksgiving meal in Pioneer Hall (73 Winburn Way)in Ashland. Uncle Foods Diner has been operating for 30 years! Www.peacehouse.net

Thursday Nov. 24, Thanksgiving Day:

  • Central Point: The Point will serve its annual dinner at 311 E. Pine Street from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 
  • Medford: First Christian church will have a free dine-in or take-out dinner from 2 to 5 p.m. at 1900 Crater Lake Avenue in Medford.

Anyone needing a food delivery in Ashland may call or text Jason at 541.841.8341. If you’re looking to help out the Ashland Emergency Food Bank you can learn more here. For more information on meals, click here.

Many organizations this Thanksgiving are shopping, prepping, and cooking meals to hand out to the community, free of charge.

Youth organization, Kids Unlimited gave out around 600 meals out to the community through it’s drive through in Medford on Wednesday.

Many other organizations are stepping up to the plate to help people in need of assistance, on Thanksgiving Day.

  • Non-profit, Rogue Foods Unites will hand out meals from 2:30-3:30 p.m. at the Grotto in Talent, the Shoppes at Exit 24, Hawthorne Park, and Unete in Medford.
  • Non-profit, Southern Oregon Jobs with Justice  is hosting it’s annual Thanksgiving meal distribution, in Ashland.

You can pick up meals at the Ashland ODOT weigh station on North Valley View Road, behind the Ashland Skate Park, at the Lithia Park gazebo, or sign up for delivery at sojwj.org.

  • Medford Gospel Mission is offering a take out meal from 2-5 p.m. and they can be picked up at the window on first street.
  • First United Methodist Church and The Compassion Highway Project are hosting a COVID-19 friendly community Thanksgiving at noon. Locations include Hawthorne Park, Table Rock Road, Albertsons on West Main, and the South Walmart.
  • First Christian Church in Medford is offering a community dinner from 5-7 p.m.
  • In Josephine County, Jubilation Fellowship Church in Murphy is having a free Thanksgiving feast from 1-4 p.m.

Thanksgiving Dinner at the Grants Pass Mission! Event Address: 540 SW Foundry St. Grants Pass, OR 97526  Anyone in the community is welcome to join us for dinner. Our doors are wide open.When: 2:00pm What to Bring: Pies, Pastries, Desserts Can I Volunteer?:  Yes, please contact Billy Lovejoy at billy@gospelrescuemissiongp.org RSVP here. http://gospelrescuemissiongp.org/its-thanksgiving-dinner-and-youre-invited/?doing_wp_cron=1669222068.4729800224304199218750

ACCESS says more than 45,000 people relied on its food support last year.

ACCESS is Jackson County’s Community Action nonprofit.  It wants to collect 10,000 pounds of food and $30,000 during its Food for Hope food and fund drive.  It says the donations will support its Regional Food Bank.

It says Food for Hope donation drive is the largest annual community food and fund drive helping fight hunger in Jackson County. It says donations collected during the drive, now in its 39th year, will stay local to help those facing food insecurity in our community.”

“Historically, we have seen an increase in the need for food assistance over the holidays, but, due to the rising cost of food this year, the need is even greater”, says ACCESS Food Programs Director Marcee Champion.  She adds, “We have seen an increase of 60% in the number of visits to our food pantries this year. We rely on donations from our community during the Grocery Bag Drive to help us meet the increased need.”

ACCESS says it distributed 4.6 million pounds of food through the Regional Food Bank to its 32 pantries last year and that one in five Jackson County residents rely on ACCESS for food annually.

“The Food for Hope food and fund drive helps us stock up the shelves in our food pantries so we can get it to hungry families struggling this holiday season and into the new year,” says ACCESS Executive Director Carrie Borgen. “We are grateful for all of the support we receive from our generous community.”

Filled grocery bags are available for purchase at Sherm’s Food 4 Less and Thunderbird Markets. Donations can also be made to the ACCESS Food Program. ACCESS says for every $1 donated, ACCESS can provide four meals. Donations can be mailed to ACCESS at 3630 Aviation Way, Medford, Oregon 97504.

ACCESS says it “provides food, warmth, shelter, and other essential services to Jackson County’s low-income children, families, seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities. As the Community Action Agency of Jackson County, Oregon, ACCESS has been helping residents break the cycle of poverty since 1976. Last year, more than 70,000 people received assistance from ACCESS’ broad continuum of services, including obtaining safe, affordable housing, rental assistance, utility assistance, weatherization, free loaned durable medical equipment, and healthy food.”

To get involved with Access and its Food For Hope fundraiser click here.

When the big feast comes around, don’t forget what Thanksgiving is all about. Being thankful is an important part of being happy and sharing this joy with others will only elevate your holiday. Oh, and remember to give your compliments to the chef, it is Thanksgiving after all.

We’ll be back in the office on Monday 11/28 – Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Rogue Valley Magazine

Have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving Weekend

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