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Free Thanksgiving in Paso Robles returns for its 32nd year 

Thanksgiving in Paso Robles

Dinner will take place at Centennial Park Activity Center, Nov. 24

– Now in its 32nd year, Thanksgiving for Paso Robles, is once again hosting a free Thanksgiving dinner to the community of Paso Robles. The traditional sit down dinner takes place at Centennial Park Activity Center on Thursday, Nov. 24 from 12 – 2 p.m. This extraordinary event is made possible solely from donations and volunteers.

In 1984, Mildred Wilkins started this grassroots event to feed families and individuals in need. Preparing a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal for people who had nowhere to spend the holiday, Wilkins served in the early years 80 – 90 people at the Paso Robles Senior Center. Over the years the number of dinner guests has increased significantly and, in 1989, the event moved to Centennial Park with a record 1000+ people served in 2015.

Each year the park is transformed into a large restaurant for a single day with the kitchen being led this year by Chef Ryan Messina. In addition to the sit down dinner, volunteers deliver meals to those who are homebound.

According to Dave Kudija, Director of the Steering Committee, who has been working with the non-profit for 22 years, “Thanksgiving for Paso Robles is a true expression of our community, bringing diverse people together to share the day with one another. Whether people come because of financial considerations or just the desire to be with others on this day, all are welcome… It’s a lot of work but it has been fulfilling to see so many work together to serve the Paso Robles community.”

Monetary donations and volunteers are crucial to executing this massive undertaking each year. The funds for the annual dinner are raised exclusively from private donations from individuals, churches, students, and businesses. Thanksgiving for Paso Robles is now accepting monetary donations that are greatly needed. Over 250 volunteers are needed to assist with activities that lead up to the dinner including set-up, food preparation, serving. delivery, and clean up. Volunteers are required to sign-up ahead of time and scheduled for specific tasks prior to Thanksgiving.

For more information, visit

To volunteer, donate or register to the event, click here.



About the author: News Staff

News staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote and edited this story from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or follow his blog. He can be reached at