Thanksgiving meal giveaways smaller-scale this year, due to COVID-19

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Beth Sumner, marketing director for Abundance Food Co-Op says she can’t stop smiling – because it feels so good to just help others in a time where Thanksgiving feels so different this year. The giveaway she was organizing at the Co-Op involved handing out both Thanksgiving meals and winter clothes. Two months of planning went into the event, according to Sumner.

The giveaway was smaller-scaled compared to what you can normally expect on a pre-pandemic holiday. The amount of food to give away is the same – the only difference is that food had to be pre-packaged and to-go to accommodate the pandemic.

“This whole month we’ve been collecting donations at our register and online, and we’ve collected just about $2,000” she said. “We got six turkeys altogether stacked out there, mashed potatoes, stuffing, all the fixings,” she said.

Sumner says she grateful to be putting smiles on people’s faces.

“That’s what Thanksgiving is all about, and that’s what the co-op is all about, our community and trying to help as best we can and be of service to our community,” she said.

Another small-scale pre-packaged giveaway over in Canandaigua happened for residents in a senior apartment complex. Meals were donated by the Salvation Army.

The manager of the complex, Wanda Moore says normally, there would be a feast.

“Normally we would have a Thanksgiving dinner catered here for them but we weren’t able to do that this year to have it be safe for them,” she said. “COVID-19 has been hard for them, they are socially isolated from their families and even the neighborhood within this building.”

Janet Miller, is one of those residents who won’t be celebrating with a family. But she’s smiling, because she says she’s thankful to have a caring community around her, and she is thankful for a free meal.

“I got friends here, you know, they’re my family,” she said.

Moore says residents in the senior apartment complex aren’t used to technology like Zoom and FaceTime to connect, but they find other creative ways, like sliding notes under each others doors.

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