The need for food this Thanksgiving is like no other and in the middle of the pandemic, those who provide free meals are trying to do the impossible this holiday season.
Shannon walked away from GLIDE Memorial Church Tuesday evening with a meal she otherwise might not have had and her situation is not unique.
“I’m coming down here because sometimes me and my roommates don’t have enough money to buy food,” she said.
COVID-19 and what it’s done to the economy are bringing more people to GLIDE for free meals and on Thursday, 2,300 people are expected from 9 - 1 p.m.
“On Thanksgiving Day we are closing down the 300 block of Ellis Strew and we’re setting up three giant tents, they will function as outdoor dining,” said Lillian Mark of GLIDE.
Those without a home, and unable to make it to GLIDE, will still have reason to give thanks.
“Some of those meals will be packed in to-go boxes and GLIDE’s mobile services team will actually take them and deliver all over the city to different encampments,” said Mark.
The San Francisco Marin Food Bank is also dealing with overwhelming demand this holiday season.
“We are serving more than twice as many families, almost 60,000, than we were just a year ago,” said Paul Ash, executive director of SF Marin Food Bank.
That’s 60,000 per week, people are showing up in droves to food pantries. It was at a drive thru pantry that Ash saw something that touched his heart.
“When we opened the trunk and it’s full of the gear crossing guards would use and this was just about a week after the schools closed. And you realize, this is a crossing guard who no longer has a job,” he said.
Ash said the food bank needs two things: more volunteers and more money. Now he could ask Santa to bring them, but he can’t afford to wait a month. The need, he said, is right now.