The 16th annual Thanksgiving Giveaway by Praise Assembly of God Church on Congress Street in Rumford will take place Saturday. The deadline for signing up is noon Wednesday. (Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times)

RUMFORD — People can sign up for the 16th annual Thanksgiving Giveaway by Praise Assembly of God Church until noon Wednesday, pastor Justin Thacker said.

“Our goal is to help 75 families in the River Valley,” he said. A total of 70 have signed up, however, the church is taking names of up to 100 families, should extra funds become available between now and the giveaway Saturday.

The baskets will be available on a first come, first served basis.

To request a basket, call 207-364-3856 or come to the church at 89 Congress St. to sign up between 9 a.m. and noon Tuesday and Wednesday.

Based on the number of members, each family will receive a 10- to 14-pound turkey, vegetables and cranberry sauce.

Thacker said the Thanksgiving Giveaway is his favorite event of the year and the one the church has been doing the longest.

“Without question, this task could not be completed unless we had wonderful and hardworking volunteers,” he said. And while many of the volunteers have helped for years, there are usually between five and seven new ones each year.

“We can always use more volunteers,” Thacker said. “We are going to be packing Thanksgiving baskets at 10 a.m. Thursday and distributing Thanksgiving baskets from Praise Assembly from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday.”

Thacker said donations are greatly appreciated and will go toward purchasing turkeys. Any surplus money will be earmarked for Christmas gifts for children in the River Valley.

Donations can brought to the church during office hours or sent to Praise Assembly of God, P.O. Box 269, Rumford, ME 04276. Write “Thanksgiving Giveaway” in the memo line of checks.

The church will host a free community Thanksgiving dinner at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21, followed by a special Thanksgiving worship service at 6:15 p.m. Everyone is invited.

“Thanksgiving is a time for us to count all of our blessings, but also to come together as a community and ensure that as many people as possible, including children, have a terrific Thanksgiving,” Thacker said.

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