Thanksgiving community meals cancelled due to pandemic

·1 min read
Organizations that offer free Thanksgiving lunches or dinners will pivot to provide meals to go, or need to cancel the meals outright. (Submitted by Siloam Mission - image credit)
Organizations that offer free Thanksgiving lunches or dinners will pivot to provide meals to go, or need to cancel the meals outright. (Submitted by Siloam Mission - image credit)

Many Ottawa shelters and community organizations usually offer free meals for Thanksgiving, but the pandemic has forced most of them to cancel.

The Ottawa Mission can't safely host its usual Thanksgiving dinner — which usually feeds anywhere from 2,500 to 3,000 people — for the second consecutive year, so instead it will offer 6,000 takeout dinners.

"Thanksgiving is an opportunity to not only provide much-needed meals because community hunger has been made much worse by COVID, but also a sense of community and belonging for people who are homeless who would otherwise be alone," said Mission spokesperson Aileen Leo.

Community members who are in need of a meal can pick up a dinner at the Mission on Thanksgiving Monday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Other organizations that usually serve turkey meals will find alternatives, including the Salvation Army Booth Centre, according to executive director Marc Provost.

Provost says they will offer clients a meal and a gift bag.

The annual lunch at Sir Guy Carleton Secondary School is cancelled for the second year in a row. The school usually hosts a lunch on the Sunday leading up to Thanksgiving.

Dinners Unlimited will not hold their annual Thanksgiving meal on Monday, which normally takes place at Christ Church Cathedral Hall on Sparks Street, due to the pandemic.

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