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Giving back by providing a dinner for the needy

Here's a list of High Desert Thanksgiving dinner events open to the public:

• APPLE VALLEY — Noon Thursday at Las Brisas Restaurant parking lot, 21919 Highway 18. Call (760) 240-1051 for more information.

• BARSTOW — Free from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at New Life Church, 134 W. Main St.

• BARSTOW — Free from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday at Barstow Senior Center, 555 Melissa Ave.

• NEWBERRY SPRINGS — Free Sunday at 1 p.m. at Newberry Springs Senior Center, 33383 Newberry Road. Call (760) 257-3284 for information.

• VICTORVILLE — Free meal, showers, haircuts and more for needy residents from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at Victorville First Assembly, 15260 Nisqualli Road. Pick-up available from spots in Victorville, Apple Valley and Hesperia by calling (760) 243-4343.

BARSTOW • Clients from Desert Manna Ministries stepped in Wednesday morning to prepare turkeys for the co-sponsored dinner meal being provided by the homeless shelter and New Life Fellowship on Thanksgiving Day.

Donations from individuals and businesses in the community made the dinner possible, Desert Manna Board President Darrin Fikstad said, but volunteers who are receiving work and shelter support were helping to prepare the turkeys.

“This is done by the generosity of businesses and donors who have stepped up to the plate and volunteerism,” Fikstad said.

Desert Manna Ministries is the largest social provider in San Bernardino County and provides emergency and short-term shelter, food, clothing and utilities assistance for homeless and low-income persons.

“Of course with the economy we’re inundated with the need to feed, provide housing and support services,” Fikstad said. “We provide clothing and hot meals every day.”

Steven Baker was one volunteer helping to prepare turkeys Wednesday. He said he came to Desert Manna just three weeks prior, after hitchhiking from Oklahoma and losing his tree service business a year ago.

“When I came here I had one pair of pants and half a shoe,” Baker said light-heartedly. “I plan on staying here and volunteering because of the good people, and because there are people out there who appreciate it.”

Kenneth Baker is another volunteer who said he lost his home and came to Desert Manna looking for work.

“I really had no place to go,” he said. “They got me off the street and they’re getting me more work. It’s a good place and good people.”

The Thanksgiving Dinner being provided free of charge to anyone in the community will be Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 134 W. Main St. in Barstow. The shelter said they expect to feed more than 500 people.

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