Canned goods were plentiful at Columbian Gardens on Tuesday.

When Brad Lubeck, 11, and his mother Stacey showed up at the Alameda County Community Food Bank for an afternoon of volunteering with his Boy Scout troop, he didn’t expect much in the way of thrills. Food bank staff showed Brad and the others what to do with the broccoli and carrots they’d be unloading, and said it would be the Scouts’ job to teach the process to another group of volunteers arriving shortly.

Then the surprise was sprung. Six giants in black and silver strolled up to the boys and asked for instructions. The Oakland Raiders had arrived.

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No animals were harmed in the making of this meal: At The Breakroom Cafe on 13th Street and Harrison, the classic Thanksgiving meal is done vegetarian style. Pictured: vegetarian mash potatoes and gravy, greens, cranberry sauce, faux turkey and stuffing.

Some meat-free Oaklanders will be eating veggie “meat” on Thursday, others will focus on traditionally vegetarian side dishes, and others are just looking forward to sitting down with friends and family, no matter what’s on the table. “A rainbow on the table” is how Breakroom customer Tiana Trutma describes her Thanksgiving meal.

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Food bank volunteers pack meals for children with cereal, milk, beans and rice. Photo courtesy of the Alameda County Community Food Bank.

A week before Thanksgiving, Spice Monkey Café and Restaurant co-owner Kanitha Matoury had been worried that food donations would fall short of her 1,000 pound goal. The restaurant, located at 1628 Webster Street, hosts one of several food drives in downtown Oakland aimed at stocking the food pantries, soup kitchens, and senior centers served by the Alameda County Community Food Bank.

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halal turkey

Basmati rice bags, colorful packets of spices, and bins of honey-sweetened candies pack the aisles at Marwa Market on Telegraph Avenue. A small freezer full of turkeys sits at the front of the store. “Thanksgiving is not a Muslim holiday, but all religions say thanks to God,” Owner Temur Khwaja said. “We always get a few orders for halal turkeys.”

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The City of Oakland will offer free parking at meters on Thanksgiving Day, however, parking will not be free on "Black Friday." A number of private lots, including those owned by Douglas Parking, will be closed for Thanksgiving.

For anybody who drives a car, one Thanksgiving holiday perk, aside from the excess of food, is free time all day in a decent parking space. But this reward also has limits that can lead drivers to pay a heavy price. From this Thursday through Saturday, Thanksgiving Day itself is the only time visitors and residents are allowed to park for free in city-designated spots. The following day, also known as “Black Friday,” is not a parking enforcement holiday. Vehicles parked without meter payment will be ticketed.

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Hi Oakland North readers — this article appeared in 2010. If you are looking for Thanksgiving restaurant information for the year 2012, click here. Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks, family… and food. From pumpkin pie to turkey, Thanksgiving is as much about the food as the fellowship. But while there are those of…

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Alameda County Community Food Bank

Four three-foot high barrels resembling oversized soup cans sit at Spice Monkey Café and Restaurant in downtown Oakland. Each is emblazoned with photos of smiling children and has “Donate Food Here!” stamped across the black and red label. One barrel is filled with nonperishable canned goodies. Another is half full. And two are completely empty.

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