Maricopa’s food banks will be busy helping needy families, homeless people and those living alone this holiday season.

Maricopa Pantry is one of them, and its founder and CEO, Jim Shoaf, says he loves helping people during the holidays. It’s the time when the pantry serves up to 500 people at the Thanksgiving Day dinner.

“The dinner is what I enjoy the most,” Shoaf said. “We want to help as many people as we can, not necessarily the needy we serve. It’s people who are living alone. We’ll have people there who don’t have money for food. We’ll have people there who don’t have anybody to be with and talk to, like senior citizens.”

Normally, the food bank at 50881 W. Papago Rd., based in Mountain View Community Church, serves 1,500 to 1,800 families a week year-round. Recipients are handed large boxes of meat, vegetables and other common food items worth more than $80 at supermarkets.

“If we have food left over, we’ll give it to people to take home, and if there’s any left after that we try to give it to the firefighters and police officers that are working on Thanksgiving,” Shoaf said.

Maricopa Pantry’s fourth annual Maricopa Pantry Melting Potluck dinner takes place beginning at 10 a.m. Thanksgiving Day on Nov. 23 at the Copper Sky Recreation Complex gym, 44345 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Billed as a multicultural community event, the potluck dinner runs for four hours and volunteers are needed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Donations of food for the Thanksgiving potluck dinner must be in disposable aluminum pans. Turkey and meat should be carved and ready to serve.

To raise money and turkeys for the dinner, and to have big birds to give away to families in need, Maricopa Pantry and Ak-Chin Circle Entertainment Center is inviting motorcycle enthusiasts to join the first Gobble Gallup Turkey Run at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19.

The motorcycle run starts at Ak-Chin Circle Entertainment Center, 16000 Maricopa Rd., and rides up John Wayne Parkway to Smith-Enke Road, to Porter Road, and back to the entertainment center.

Signups for the run start at 10:30 a.m. at the center. The ride entry fee is $20 or a frozen turkey. Additional donations are accepted.

Turkey giveaway

F.O.R. Maricopa Food Bank plans a turkey giveaway, including fixings, from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, while supplies last.

Turkeys are given away at a drive-through pickup point at F.O.R. Maricopa, in the Blue Business Building, 19428 N. Maricopa Rd.

Existing clients are asked to bring their food bank cards plus a picture identification. New clients are asked to bring a picture ID, proof of address, a utility bill, ID with address or rental agreement.

Volunteer shifts are available.

Regular weekly hours for food distribution are 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Monday and 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday.