No better phrase suits the Thanksgiving dinners planned across Beaufort County than a "ton of food."
After all, folks are preparing about that much to eat this holiday.
Hundreds of turkeys and hundreds of pounds of mashed potatoes, stuffing and many other sides will be cooked and served at three free-to-attend Thanksgiving dinners Thursday in the county, where a total of 2,000 are expected to dine.
The events are a way to help those who are alone or unable to cook a holiday meal.
Hudson's Seafood House on the Docks will host its 15th annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner on Hilton Head Island, beginning at 11 a.m. Hudson's general manager Andrew Carmines said the restaurant expects to feed about 1,400 people, about the same number as last year.
Carmines said 25 restaurant employees will prepare the food -- 100 turkeys, 350 pounds of mashed potatoes, 30 gallons of gravy, and 200 pans of sweet potatoes and stuffing.
"It's an amazing thing to see these people volunteer their time, and it's a testament to what this event is," he said. "It's a lot of fun. We love doing it. It gives you a perspective on what this holiday is."
Two bands will provide live music, Carmines said. The event will be fully staffed with volunteers coordinated by St. Andrew by-the-Sea United Methodist Church, volunteer Dave Bisbee said. Bisbee said more than 400 volunteers will work Thursday's event.
The dinner is free to attend, but donations to benefit The Deep Well Project will be accepted at the dinner or at the church, which is at 20 Pope Ave. on Hilton Head Island.
The Parish Church of St. Helena's traditional Community Thanksgiving Dinner will start at noon in the Parish Hall at 507 Newcastle St. in Beaufort. Nursery director Roz Dixon, who coordinates the meal, said the church expects to feed about 800 people and carve up about 60 turkeys for the event, which is in its 34th year. An 11 a.m. worship service will precede the church's dinner.
Plant the Seed Ministry, an arm of Shell Point Baptist Church, will also have a free Thanksgiving meal in Beaufort at the Atlantic Inn on Boundary Street beginning at 11 a.m., ministry leader Joy Kircher said. She and at least 30 volunteers are expect to feed about 120 people, many of them homeless or in need.
Thursday's dinner will be a second annual event. Kircher said the ministry held a Thanksgiving meal and a Christmas meal at the Atlantic Inn last year.
On-duty emergency personnel can also get a free meal Thursday at Bricks on Boundary in Beaufort, owner Josh Poticha said. The cost for others is $16.95 a plate for adults and $8.95 for children. The Boundary Street restaurant will be open from noon to 8 p.m.
This is the sixth year the restaurant has offered free meals to emergency responders, Poticha said.
- Hudson's Seafood House on the Docks: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 1 Hudson Road, Hilton Head Island; 843-505-1370
- Parish Church of St. Helena: noon to 2 p.m., 507 Newcastle St., Beaufort; 843-522-1712
- Plant the Seed Ministry: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2249 Boundary St., Beaufort; 843-575-2200
Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.