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Options vary for residents choosing to eat in or dine out

By Jeffery Whitfield

So what will it be - dine in or take out?

That could be a question that residents consider as they mull over whether or not to cook their Thanksgiving day meal at home or eat out.

Prices vary for residents planning to purchase food for a home-cooked meal.

Frozen turkeys are selling for about 69 cents a pound, and fresh ones going from 99 cents a pound to as much as $1.49 a pound for a Butterball brand turkey.

“Ninety Eight percent of people celebrating Thanksgiving will have a turkey at the center of the table,” said Sherrie Rosenblatt at the National Turkey Federation. That's a lot of turkeys - 46 million to be exact. There are several different varieties from which to choose.

One variety is the growing niche market for organic turkeys. Last year, some managers in the Southern Crescent, expecting big demand, stocked the shelves with free-range organic turkeys. But locals balked at prices upward of $2 a pound and managers had to almost give the birds away when they didn't sell. Many stores didn't even stock any of the organic birds this year, though they were usually available as a special order.

The big item this year has been “freezer to oven” turkeys. These turkeys come already seasoned and dressed, so all you have to do is put them in the oven and wait. At around $2 a pound, they cost just as much as last year's organic birds, but customers clearly see the convenience as an added value that is worth the money

You can even get a skinless, boneless version of these specialty birds for around $5 a pound.

Those planning to eat their Thanksgiving meal away from home have several choices.

For example, the Golden Corral in Jonesboro will offer a Thanksgiving buffet for adults and children on Thursday. The restaurant will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The First Baptist Church of Jonesboro will offer a free Thanksgiving meal on Thursday at noon. The event is open to the public. A worship service will follow the meal at about 2 p.m.

Events also are being held to provide Thanksgiving dinner for residents in need.

The annual Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless Thanksgiving Dinner will be held at Turner Field in Atlanta.

“We expect no less than 15,000,” said Shealeta Murden, an executive assistant at Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless.

Event organizers expect to feed more attendees because of the number of hurricane victims from areas such as Louisiana that are living in the metro Atlanta, she said.

“We have serviced over 6,000 of them from September until now,” she said.