Warren Thanksgiving meals drive falls victim to pandemic

Last year, drive fed nearly 400; volunteer effort has been a tradition for more than 30 years

By Ted Hayes
Posted 11/24/20

One of Warren's longest Thanksgiving traditions is off this year, a victim like many others of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The annual Thanksgiving meals preparation and delivery drive, run yearly out …

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Warren Thanksgiving meals drive falls victim to pandemic

Last year, drive fed nearly 400; volunteer effort has been a tradition for more than 30 years

Posted

One of Warren's longest Thanksgiving traditions is off this year, a victim like many others of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The annual Thanksgiving meals preparation and delivery drive, run yearly out of St. Thomas the Apostle Church on Metacom Avenue by Warren Unit 11 of the American Legion Auxiliary, would have been in its 33rd year.
The drive is usually one of Warren's largest community charity events. Every year, dozens of volunteers prepare and deliver meals to hundreds of shut-ins, the economically distressed and otherwise vulnerable families throughout the East Bay. The work of collecting all the food needed takes weeks, and volunteers usually spend the day before Thanksgiving, as well as a good majority of Thanksgiving morning and afternoon, putting the packages together and delivering them throughout the East Bay.

Last year's drive was the busiest ever, with nearly 400 meals delivered to the needy.

Judy Fardig, who organizes the drive for the auxiliary, said last week that it was with a "heavy heart" that organizers decided to cancel this year's event. She hopes the drive will return next year, and that the organizations' annual Christmas Day meals this year will be allowed to return.

"But at this point we are not optimistic," she said.
"Warren has one of the highest infection rates in the state," she said last week. "We could not risk the health and safety of our small army of volunteers and the hundreds of people who receive our meals. We did not want to become a super-spreader event."

She said canceling the event was a particularly hard decision to make, as volunteers had anticipated a greater need due to the financial impact the pandemic has had throughout the area.

With an official meals event off the table, she asked that residents reach out in their own neighborhoods to find out if there is anyone who needs help. That could come in the form of food, other assistance or a simple conversation:

"Just a phone call might be enough to cheer up a neighbor," she said. "For the homebound or those living by themselves, holidays can be the loneliest days of the year."

"It's time more than ever to be a good neighbor," she said.

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