Charity organizations provide Thanksgiving meals for people in need


Isa Khalak

During COVID-19, some meals must be delivered to-go as sitting next to one another is no longer an option for meal distribution.

Bay Area charity organizations are finding innovative ways to provide anyone with a conventional meal this Thanksgiving.

While many are stressing trying to figure out how to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, some wonder whether they will celebrate at all. However, meal distribution may be their saving grace as many organizations find ways to provide meals to people during the holiday season.

“The goal is to feed as many people as possible,” Lyndsie Francis, volunteer coordinator at Bay Area Rescue, said.

Because of COVID-19, food insecurity is rising. As many people find it hard to make ends meet, they must face the notion of going hungry on Thanksgiving. However, not having a Thanksgiving meal is no new phenomenon.

“Food insecurity is on the rise across the country. But even before the pandemic, one in four San Franciscans had some degree of food insecurity,” Robert Avila, director of communications at Glide, said.

Luckily many Bay Area charity organizations, such as Glide, participate in meal distribution. Ever since the 1980s, Glide has been serving meals three times a day, 364 days a year.

“Some of the values of Glide are unconditional love, but also radical inclusion. The idea is to make sure that people feel included in the Thanksgiving holiday,” Avila said.

Another group is the Samaritan House. One of their many programs is to provide meals to people in San Mateo and the surrounding areas. This service becomes essential as Thanksgiving draws near.

“Not everyone has the privilege to enjoy something as normal and as a warm Thanksgiving meal. But every family deserves to share in the joy of the holidays,” Joani Wong, marketing and communications coordinator, said.

Bay Area Rescue Mission is yet another meal provider. They give meals year-round, including during Thanksgiving. According to Francis, they have distributed almost 900,000 meals this year as of October.

“COVID-19 has hit a lot of families in the area pretty hard. We really want everyone to be able to celebrate this time with their families and have a nice meal,” Francis said.

Most people don’t have to face the grim reality that some don’t have the opportunity for a Thanksgiving meal. However, when many people come together, they can all celebrate the holiday of gratitude.

“It’s about inviting people into a sense of community,” Avila said. “It’s a time to come together around a table of friends and family and express our gratitude for the things that you have and the things you have together.”