Good Shepherd continues Thanksgiving tradition with 'a hot turkey dinner with all of the trimmings'
‘This year, Thanksgiving is even more vital because of the challenges of the pandemic,' says CEO
Good Shepherd says its Thanksgiving meal has taken on a more important role this year because of the COVID-19 health crisis.
Measures put in place to protect members of the community against coronavirus have altered Good Shepherd's annual celebration for people in Hamilton who regularly struggle to put food on their table.
Carmen Salciccioli, director of the Good Shepherd Centre emergency shelter on Mary Street, said normally on Thanksgiving Day they have a hot sit-down turkey meal for individuals in the community.
"This year, because of the COVID and the public health restrictions, we have decided that we would be doing a hot take-away turkey dinner with all of the trimmings," Salciccioli told CBC News.
"Individuals will be coming to the side of the dining room and the staff and few volunteers we have — because we are not getting as many volunteers these days — they will be handing out the meal, a hot turkey dinner with all of the trimmings, and I believe that we're giving out a box of chocolate along with that."
Salciccioli said with this year being very different from many other years, the number of places offering Thanksgiving meals has lessened.
He said they have prepared enough meals for up to 500 individuals.
"Normally individuals come to the community meal program in order to socialize and see friends and make new friends, however that is not possible this year so we decided to go with the hot take-away turkey dinner," Salciccioli said.
'2020 has been one long, dark night'
Brother Richard MacPhee, Good Shepherd's chief executive officer, said he and his team want to ensure that everyone can safely enjoy a hot Thanksgiving meal.
"This year, Thanksgiving is even more vital because of the challenges of the pandemic and its accompanying isolation," MacPhee said.
"For too many of us, 2020 has been one long, dark night. None of us knows when this pandemic will end, but Good Shepherd is here every day to welcome our community with compassion and generosity."
MacPhee said food and housing insecurity are serious problems in the community, and the pandemic has hindered Good Shephard's efforts to alleviate them.
"We should all be aware of the challenges faced every single day, but especially during our family holidays when social isolation puts added pressure on the well-being of our city's vulnerable population," he said.