Pandemic changing how local nonprofits give out free Thanksgiving meals this year

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Every year local organizations give out free Thanksgiving meals to people in the community but this year is a lot different because of new safety protocols.

Usually on Thanksgiving people go to the Salvation Army to eat, but this year, the meals are going to the people.

“So, us bringing the food to them is just a safer way to do it this year,” Major David Harvey, with the Salvation Army, said. “It’s not the most social, friendly event that we love.”

Meals will be dropped off to people, but nobody is allowed inside to eat.

“As the volunteers drive around and take it to a home there will be no social interaction besides making sure the food is at their door or on their porch,” Harvey said.

Harvey said 800 meals will be delivered.

“Five-hundred of them to senior citizens, who normally need this every year because their shut in, and the other 300 will be families who normally eat in this room,” Harvey said.

And they’re not the only place delivering meals this Thanksgiving.

“Our hot meals today was a Thanksgiving meal, “Janet, Baker, KC Shepherd’s Center Executive Director, said. “Our frozen meals are including an extra meal.”

On top of a Thanksgiving meal, KC Shepherd’s Center is delivering weekly meals to senior citizens.

“Before COVID we were serving about 50 people a day,” Baker said. “With COVID we are serving more than 400 people.”

And back at the Salvation Army, Harvey said the organization is already anticipating a large Christmas.

“We have 155% more request through the Salvation Army right now,” Harvey said. “A lot of it is for utility assistance, rent assistance that’s coming up and how they are going to care for their family during Christmas.

Families who would like to sign up for a Christmas meal can call 816-756-2769.

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