SANTA CRUZ – Automobiles stuffed with Santa Cruz County’s seniors filed in an out of the Gray Bears parking zone on Chanticleer Avenue to choose up a vacation dinner full with total pies.
On any regular 12 months, Gray Bears would host a vacation dinner on the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium downtown, however 2020 isn’t a standard 12 months. As an alternative, Gray Bears ready a conventional Thanksgiving dinner prematurely handy out to company through drive-thru on Sunday.
“We’ve been going about 30 years, as had been native residents,” Robert Adams stated of the vacation dinner. “We’re trying at the least a 12 months to 2 years of pandemic. We’re going to should adapt. We’re going to should provide you with other ways to cope with this.”
Many residents had been grateful for Gray Bears’ generosity through the holidays. A type of residents was Irene Dietze, who was as soon as a volunteer at Gray Bears and is now one of many group members they serve.
“It’s great. Gray Bears all the time takes care of senior residents. They’re actually a blessing for all of us,” Dietze stated. “It makes me really feel great that they not solely look after you once you assist them, in addition they look after you once you can not assist them.”
Volunteers are a big a part of what retains Gray Bears operating. Government Chef Matt Hereford referred to them because the “engine behind Gray Bears.” This 12 months, it bought a plethora of volunteers that consider in what Gray Bears does and needed to assist feed the county’s senior residents.
“It’s simply what Santa Cruz County is. We’re simply tremendous grateful they’re right here,” Government Director Tim Brattan stated. “Simply the outpouring of assist. It’s a part of our group.”
Among the many volunteers was Boy Scouts of America Troop 618. Scouts checked in every automotive and helped facilitate the supply of their meal into every automotive.
“It’s an opportunity for the (scouts) to study the worth of cheerful service. It’s one of many Boy Scout values,” Ciro Milazzo, one of many troop leaders, stated. “Inside our group, we’re simply targeted on educating the (scouts) the core values. That core worth of service to the group is actually solely taught by doing.”
Boy Scouts of America has been working with Gray Bears for greater than twenty years. They normally assist with the clean-up of the vacation dinner on the Civic Auditorium, however with the in-person dinner not taking place this 12 months, they needed to discover one other means to assist out.
Boy Scouts of America weren’t the one volunteers. Different volunteers not affiliated with particular teams helped package deal the meals and distribute them to company. One volunteer even confirmed up the day of as a walk-in volunteer.
“I used to be unaware that they had been doing this, and I examine it within the paper. I had a bunch of napkins and I simply got here all the way down to donate the napkins and me and my grandson determined to remain and assist,” Pamela Simmons stated. “It’s such a heartwarming factor that they’re doing.”
Simmons helped direct automobiles the place to go after they arrived on the Gray Bears parking zone. She additionally helped arrange the row of pink ribbons that led automobiles to the pick-up stations.
Brattan was happy with the best way the drive-thru vacation dinner went. Gray Bears and its volunteers had been serving greater than 40 automobiles each 10 minutes, in line with him. He credit a part of the success to the volunteer assist Gray Bears obtained.
“We weren’t positive, however we’ve bought a lot assist and a fantastic crew of volunteers. It’s been excellent,” Brattan stated. “Underneath the circumstances, this can be a trigger for celebration.”