DENVER — Organizers with the nonprofit Denver Feed a Family predicted early in the year that COVID-19 would change their annual Thanksgiving meals.
"We knew families would be in need as the year went on and we were right, Pastor Jeff Kanost with Denver Feed a Family said. "There's so many more families in need this year than there were last year."
The organization plans to hand out double the amount of Thanksgiving baskets to make up for it – 10,000 baskets in all. Each feeds 6-8 people, which means 75,000 to 80,000 people will be fed.
The annual tradition is in honor of Daddy Bruce Randolph, a former restaurant owner in Denver's Five Points neighborhood. He offered free meals to families out of his own pocket for decades until he died. Denver Feed a Family and the Epworth Foundation took over after that.
"We don't want his legacy to fade away as many things have," Kanost said. "We can't feed 10,000 families in the street like we usually do. But we can continue the legacy he founded, loving everybody, feeding everybody by providing a basket."
Denver Feed a Family doesn't want any COVID-19 cases to come from this, so the organization is making sure the meal distribution is safe. Here are some of the precautions the organization is taking:
- Contactless delivery: No standing in lines. People will drive up in their cars and volunteers will put a basket in their trunk. Volunteers will also drop baskets off at people's doors.
- QR codes for touchless scanning.
- Half the number of volunteers at the main site for social distancing.
- No speakers or celebrations beforehand.
- Cleaning company for sanitation.
Kanost hopes the baskets can help families who can't be together because of the pandemic.
"Many times people get together as families and go to one spot, now they can't do that, at least they can have a dinner that serves about 6-8 people and stay at home to be safe," Kanost said. "I know it's hard, Thanksgiving is family time. But we still have to look out for the health of everybody too."
The drive begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 21. People can volunteer as a basket delivery driver or donate to help feed a family at the Epworth Foundation's website. Each basket costs $35. Kanost said any donation helps.
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