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COVID forces South Bay nonprofit to adjust Thanksgiving meal service, but doesn’t dampen spirit


The COVID-19 pandemic did not cease a South Bay nonprofit from distributing vacation meals to these in want. 

A number of hundred homeless folks in San Jose obtained a conventional Thanksgiving dinner in a not so conventional method. Metropolis Crew discovered a technique to work across the pandemic and supply seize and go meals. 

“Tonight is just a little particular as a result of it’s Thanksgiving,” stated Metropolis Crew Meals Service Supervisor and Chef Reynolds Stewart.
 
Yearly on Thanksgiving, the group prepares its annual dinner for essentially the most susceptible in San Jose. On the menu: turkey, mac and cheese and, stuffing. And people had been simply a number of the gadgets. However this yr it was served otherwise as a result of pandemic.
 
“This yr is hard as a result of I constructed up a fame with the homeless neighborhood that on Thanksgiving and Christmas,” stated Stewart. “We invite them right into a eating room all day.”
 
Stewart stated he is aware of it’s not straightforward. In years previous, the homeless neighborhood ate and lingered within the eating room all day. For the primary time within the nonprofit’s 63 yr historical past, dinner was served outdoor, prepacked and able to go.
 
“They’re going to take their meal,” stated Stewart. “They’re going to stroll to wherever they stroll to. They’re going to go to their automotive. They’re going to go to their camper.”
 
Metropolis Crew additionally supplied a separate bag, a hygiene package full with hand sanitizer in addition to heat clothes and socks.

The nonprofit normally has 60 volunteers within the kitchen, however this yr Metropolis Crew needed to make some changes. About 20 males from the group’s drug restoration program helped out within the kitchen. 
 
“They’re like a household placing a meal along with all the security measures potential,” stated Stewart.
 
“My life earlier than this program was type of hectic out and in of jail,” stated Volunteer Leo Rueda.
 
Rueda, a 35-year-old father of three from Hollister has been in Metropolis Crew’s restoration program since February. He stated he is grateful for a second likelihood.
 
“The primary factor is giving again, giving again to the neighborhood,” stated Rueda. “I used to be by no means an individual to assist anyone out however now that’s all modified.”
 
“It blesses my coronary heart,” stated Metropolis Crew Operations Supervisor James Alvarado. “I like to see the boys. They’re excited. They’re compassionate.”
 
Whereas it was not the conventional Thanksgiving Day service, COVID-19 did not dampen the spirit of vacation giving and sharing.
 
“I simply need to give them hope,” stated Rueda. “If I can do it you are able to do it.”
 
“A loving expertise, a Glad Thanksgiving,” stated Stewart. “We look after you. That is what we will do for you at the moment.”
 
Dinner service began at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. The nonprofit fed between 300 to 400 folks, which was considerably down from final yr. They attribute that to folks having to journey. 



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