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Coronavirus Impact: Record Turnout Expected As NYC Charities Prepare To Hand Out Food For Thanksgiving

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The coronavirus pandemic has left many people struggling with food insecurity, resulting in many New York City charities gearing up for what's expected to be a record turnout this Thanksgiving.

CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis recently witnessed what was more than just a line for food at The Bowery Mission. It was a lifeline for many homeless and hungry city residents, especially considering what COVID-19 has done to everyday life.

"We've kept our doors open every single day," Bowery Mission CEO James Winans said.

The Mission is doing it to feed hundreds of people at each meal. It is now gearing up for its biggest meal, Thanksgiving.

"Last year, indoors, we served over 1,800 people and in one day, and so this year we don't know what to anticipate. We know that the need is rising. We know that more people are out of work this year. We know that more people are isolated this year," Winans said.


The Mission is bringing them together for its 141st Thanksgiving, which will be different than pre-pandemic because it will be served outdoors and packed to-go.

Other winter necessities, hats and gloves, will be handed out by the 160 volunteers, reduced from the normal 500.

"With masks on, working behind Plexiglass, with all of the cleaning and distancing protocols in place," Winans said.

Safety is also at the forefront for Citymeals on Wheels in deliveries to seniors.

"It's a knock on the door, step back, make sure they're there, you know, hanging the meal on the doorknob so that you're not doing that close pass off," said Beth Shapiro, executive director of Citymeals.

MORENavigating Coronavirus: Citymeals On Wheels Says Food Is Going Fast And It Needs More Donations And Volunteers

Since the start of the pandemic, it has delivered 2 million meals and counting.

"I think with the greater need also comes the need for volunteers. Thanksgiving Day is always one of our biggest days," Shapiro said.

It's big day for the Brooklyn Bank, too, except it is celebrated the Sunday before the holiday.

Its director said in just a week $35,000 has been donated for the giveaway event.

"We're going to feed probably about 400-plus families, and on top of that, we also provide children with toys for children," said Jude Bernard, director of The Brooklyn Bank.

Proving with the growing need for help is also the desire by many to give, which is what the holidays are all about.


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