Volunteers dish up Thanksgiving meals for the community at the WabiSabi Community Thanksgiving dinner held each year at the Grand Center. [Courtesy photo]

It is a day to gather with friends and family to give thanks.

This year, for those who don’t want to make a meal, there are many options.

WabiSabi is offering a free community Thanksgiving dinner between 2 and 5 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 28.

The dinner is made possible by generous donations from community businesses and individuals as well as the United Way of Eastern Utah.

“Everyone is invited to attend,” said Mandy Turner, WabiSabi’s program director. “The meal is for the community; made by the community.”

Over 100 people volunteer to cook, serve, clean, decorate and entertain for the meal, Turner said.

The Youth Garden Project and the Grand Center contribute their facilities for cooking and serving. The BEACON Afterschool Program provides the decorations. Numerous businesses from town donate the desserts and beverages.

Ken Moody will create the main meal, which will include turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings.

This is the ninth year WabiSabi is offering a Thanksgiving meal through their Winter Meals program. The other meals include a Christmas day meal and six Sunday brunches in January and February.

“There are tons of people in this town that have no family to spend the holidays with,” said Holly Dinsmore, WabiSabi’s warehouse manager and founding organizer of the Winter Meals. “We don’t want people to be alone during the holidays. Also, this is the off-season. People are getting laid off, and money is a real issue.”

Dinsmore pointed out however, the Thanksgiving dinner is more about creating a sense of community than just helping people through lean economic times. A broad cross-section of the community attends each year, from schoolteachers and business owners to the unemployed and homeless.

“The free meal is appreciated, but the bonds of community are essential,” she said.

Though WabiSabi is able to accept food donations from area businesses, but is unable to accept food donations from individuals. Everything served must be prepared in a commercial kitchen. Gift cards to local grocers and general financial contributions to the event are greatly appreciated and may be dropped off or mailed to WabiSabi,

Dinsmore knows that generous community involvement is vital to the success of the event.

“It’s over-the-top fabulous,” she says. “It’s a wonderful thing to see tons of volunteers step up each year. Wabi Winter Meals is a chance for the individuals, nonprofits, and businesses of Moab to unite in sustaining area residents and the community at large,” she said.

For those who would prefer a private party for Thanksgiving, area restaurants are providing feasts.

Buck’s Grill House is doing a special three-course meal, with seating beginning at 3:30 p.m.

The meal begins with a choice of butternut squash bisque or salad. The entrees include a choice of herb -brined roasted turkey, roasted ham, pan roasted trout or a vegetable loaf with miso mushroom gravy. Featured desserts include pumpkin pie, apple crisp, pecan pie and a truffle terrine.

Sorrel River Ranch is also doing a three-course dinner at their resort on the Colorado River.

The first course is a choice between a pumpkin soup and salad. The entree features a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn bread and a roasted pumpkin turkey gravy. Dessert choices are a pumpkin pie or a cranberry upside down cake.

Red Cliffs Lodge is also providing a feast at their restaurant on the edge of the Colorado River. The main course features more than turkey, to include the restaurant’s signature prime rib, as well as ham and salmon. Traditional sides include baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, green bean casserole and stuffing.

The menu also has an array of appretizers, salads and desserts.

Charley Every, the chef at the Red Cliffs Lodge, said that the 14-mile drive on State Route 128 to the lodge is worth it.

“You don’t have to cook. And you don’t have to do dishes,” he said.