No Thanksgiving dinner would be complete without a turkey and all the trimmings, but for many local families struggling to make ends meet this year, that traditional meal isn't a possibility.  

That's where the Manayunk Brewery & Restaurant comes in. For the sixth straight year, the brewery has organized its "Give Thanks" program, which ensures that 250 families have a hot meal at home on Thursday. 

The effort is made possible by the brewery's partnerships with local nonprofits such as Fresh Start Life Skills, Methodist Family Services, Achieve Ability and the Ludlow Elementary School. Through their efforts, Thanksgiving meal baskets have been pre-reserved by local families.

"We've been doing this for a few years now – we've reached out to all the local shelters, churches and community centers and left it to their discretion to convey who are the needy families that they know of," explained Heather McAlum, banquet manager at MBC.

She says the chef and kitchen staff began prepping turkeys on Friday.

"It takes about three days to cook everything, it's still being prepared," said McAlum. "It's a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for a family of four. We have turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberries and pumpkin pie."

Although some of the food is donated from other organizations, Manayunk Brewery provides the majority of food included in the baskets. 

Launching the "Give Thanks" program

After years of opening their doors to families in need on Thanksgiving day, the restaurant's staff realized that many folks had difficulty finding transportation to their 4120 Main Street spot.

To reach more people, a carry-out idea was born and the "Give Thanks" program was launched. This year, the restaurant estimates that they will feed about 1,000 people.

"Each year we try to do a little more," said McAlum, who noted that in their first year they assembled between 150 and 175 baskets.

Michael Rose, owner of Manayunk Brewery and Restaurant, says the entire staff plays a part in helping to prepare the baskets.

"Without the help and support of our staff and vendors we wouldn't be able to achieve this for the past five years," said Rose. "This is the time of year to give thanks for what you have and to share what you have."

The pre-reserved Thanksgiving baskets will be distributed tonight at the Manayunk Brewery between 5 and 7 p.m.