Feeding needy and homeless on Thanksgiving during COVID-19

Feeding the needy on Thanksgiving during pandemic

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - We’re only a few days away from Thanksgiving and some non-profits in Birmingham are gearing up for a busy day to help the homeless and the needy with Thanksgiving meals.

But there will be changes this year because of COVID-19.

It’s a busy time of year still for the Jimmie Hale Mission and the Salvation Army in Birmingham. They are getting ready to feed as many people as they can while still practicing social distancing and safety measures to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Normally at the Salvation Army in downtown Birmingham, they provide a Thanksgiving dinner not only to their residents, but others in the community who live nearby. But due to COVID-19, the community will not be invited this year.

“This year, we are sitting only two people at a table. So they are six feet apart and all the tables are six feet apart. So last year, the room was packed. This year will be COVID requirements and everyone six feet apart,” Major Charles Powell said.

They still hope to get 50 in at a time and run about three shifts.

Over at Jimmie Hale Mission, they also plan to feed about 500 residents in their buildings, but they plan to send out 500 meals to Meals on Wheels for the elderly and shut-ins, but it will be done safely.

“When you get here, when you pull up and you are ready to deliver your meal out in the community, you know where to go. You go in one side and out the other,” Chris Sykes with Jimmie Hale Mission said.

It will be more challenging this year, but both believe their volunteers will get the jobs done.

Both organizations are looking for a better Thanksgiving next year.

“The Salvation Army wants to continue to serve people,” Powell said.

“I want to see things return to normal so bad. I’m hopeful 2021 is back to normal,” Sykes said.

Fundraising has taken a hit due to COVID-19. If you would like to help out, you can check out jimmiehalemission.com or email birminghamsalvationarmy@gmail.com.

Copyright 2020 WBRC. All rights reserved.