UPDATE (2:11 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18): The Frank Veltri Annual Thanksgiving Dinner says that all of their volunteer positions have been filled. They say they are only taking backup names at this time.


CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – An effort that feeds thousands of people in the Kanawha Valley every year needs more volunteers to pull off the monumental task.

The Frank Veltri dinner is a long standing tradition in Charleston. This year, organizers are looking for delivery drivers to take hot meals to people who can’t come to the dinner in person.

Frank Veltri passed away several years ago but the tradition he started of feeding people on Thanksgiving Day has carried on.

“The Veltri Dinner has some long standing volunteers that actually worked alongside Mr. Veltri 56 years ago that hold this dinner very close to them,” said Traci Strickland, Executive Director of the Kanawha Valley Collective.

On Thanksgiving Day, the annual dinner will feed thousands of people. At one time there were more volunteers than tasks to do, but this year, not as many people are raising their hand to pitch in.

“The volunteers were a little slow this year,” Strickland said. “I think the first year kind of coming out of COVID a lot of people are traveling, so some of our volunteers that would volunteer year in and year out are now traveling.”

Strickland is also a regular volunteer. She said she gets back more than she gives on Thanksgiving Day as a delivery driver for the Veltri Dinner.

“The knocking on doors, delivering meals, the thanks, the hugs, sometimes we get cards. They are just waiting for us with cards. It is just the sweetest thing,” Strickland said.

In Logan County, organizers of the Lee Jones Memorial Dinner, known in years past as the Community Thanksgiving Day Dinner, say donations are down. The In-Action Project was started by Heather Robinson and her then husband Lee Jones 12 years ago. Lee passed away last year.

“We have stress in that we want to make sure that our program is successful and we have enough food for everyone,” said Robinson, president of the In-Action Project. “But also we know that, ultimately, we can only use the products that we have to service our community.”

Like many other charities, the group is trying to come understand why the help isn’t there like it used to be.

“The most logical reason that we think is because goods are so expensive that people don’t have the money to donate to projects even if they wanted to because they have to keep the money at home to take care of their families first which is understandable,” Robinson said.

If you want to volunteer for the Frank Veltri Dinner you can complete a form on the Kanawha Valley Collective’s website HERE. If you want to donate to the Lee Jones Memorial Dinner in Chapmanville, WV you can click HERE.