SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The pace and buzz in the kitchens of Glide Memorial deep in the heart of San Francisco’s Tenderloin District accelerated Thursday morning as hundreds of warm meals were being prepared for their annual Thanksgiving celebration for the needy.
Over the last several years, the lines have grown longer and longer, only slowed by the restrictions put in place during the 2020 COVID outbreak.READ MORE: UCSF Lab Worked Quickly To Confirm San Francisco's Omicron Case
This year, Glide has erected giant tents to keep everyone safe from COVID and socially distanced.
“There are more people living on the streets right now, there are more people hungry right now, and Glide is here providing services everyday,” said Glide official George Gundry. “Volunteers are big this year. We’ve gone much of the pandemic without a corp of volunteers. This year, they will be craving turkeys, craving hams… They will be serving meals in the tents.”
The Salvation Army also has made changes to its annual Thanksgiving food giveaway this year. For the second year, the organization’s meal delivery program will be employing socially distanced precautions. Hundreds of volunteers will help deliver the meals to homes on Thanksgiving morning.READ MORE: Concord Man Convicted Of Posting Antisemitic Murder Threats; Assault Weapon Possession
“We are more hyper-sensitive to how COVID has isolated all of us, so today when that senior citizen, that homebound individual is received by someone, that someone becomes family, a friend,” said Salvation Army Major David Pierce as he stood amid delivery boxes stacked to the ceiling. “Conveying a sense of love, thankfulness, gratitude, appreciation, giving them a sense of hope today.”
For volunteer Kalani Isabel, it’s about giving back – knowing all too well what it means to have a meal for Thanksgiving.
“When I was young, my family used to be in need and Salvation Army was always there for us,” said Isabel. “Some Thanksgivings we didn’t have much and Thanksgiving was hard for my mom.”
This year, the Salvation Army was set to deliver about 4,000 meals.
Mark Hopper brought his daughter to volunteer along with him this morning, a reminder of being thankful and giving back on Thanksgiving.
“If you show that you want to be compassionate and empathetic toward people, you gotta actually do it instead of just telling your kids,” said Hopper.