An annual Thanksgiving dinner hosted by a Pasadena-based homeless services provider will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, and interested volunteers are urged to sign up beginning Wednesday.

“While this year might bring unique methods of celebrating Thanksgiving, there still is one distinct purpose: to feed those in need with a full holiday meal,” Union Station Homeless Services said in a statement.

Union Station’s Dinner in the Park is traditionally held as a large, celebratory gathering, but this year, strict adherence to COVID-19 public health orders will be observed.

Some dinners and dinner kits with all the fixings will be handed out in advance, while smaller, private dinners will be held on Thanksgiving at multiple centers serving homeless individuals.

Sign-ups begin Wednesday at 9 a.m. and volunteers can apply individually or as a group at unionstationhs.org/dip_FAQ.

Organizers urged would-be volunteers to sign up early, as past opportunities have filled up within 24 hours. This year, spots are very limited.

Volunteers will help Union Station Homeless Services with food sorting, preparation, cooking, packaging and serving. Three different opportunities to volunteer — on Nov. 11, 25 or 26 — are available.

On Nov. 18 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., volunteers can help with no-contact distribution of meal supply boxes for residents with access to a kitchen who want to cook their own Thanksgiving meals. Prepared meals will be handed out on the day before Thanksgiving, during the same hours.

Volunteers can also help staff festive sit-down dinners on Thanksgiving Day for residents at Union Station’s Adult Center, Family Center and Centennial Place. The dinner will not be open to the public. Volunteer hours are from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and all locations are in Pasadena.

Anyone unable to pick up a volunteer slot in time can also donate items from an online wish list available on the website.

Union Station is the San Gabriel Valley’s largest social service agency assisting homeless and very low-income adults and families.

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