While many places providing free meals report having no shortage of volunteers, there is still a need for food and supplies.
The Helping Hand Mission in Raleigh said that it is several hundred turkeys short of its goal this year. The group has a list of about 640 families who need Thanksgiving meals, but only 180 turkeys.
Organizers said that a sluggish economy and donations being diverted to the victims of Sept. 11 have hurt charities.
The Helping Hand Mission said that it will not turn people away, but it may only be able to offer vegetables when it runs out of turkey.
"This is a dilemma, we are so close to Thanksgiving, but we have not met the mark. We are in urgent need of donations from the community. So many people have poured out their hearts and given, but we still need more. We haven't got enough at all," said volunteer Mary Mosely.
Families begin picking up their meals Wednesday afternoon at the mission on Rock Quarry Road.
On any given day, the Salvation Army in Raleigh feeds 130 to 150 people. On Thanksgiving Day, that number could double.
"For Thanksgiving, we've seen almost too many volunteers. We've had people calling to volunteer for Thanksgiving and other programs we do here," said Jason Lake of the Salvation Army.
The same is true for the Durham Rescue Mission, where close to 400 volunteers will be on duty Thursday.
While there will be plenty of manpower, donations are still needed for the annual dinner that could attract up to 1,000 people.
"We desperately need hams, paper products -- like forks and plates. And if it's too late, a check will be helpful," said Rev. Ernie Mills of the Durham Rescue Mission.
Rev. Mills said that the usual donations and contributions have been down since Sept. 11. To contribute, call the Durham Rescue Mission at (919) 688-9641.