Oakland’s Thanksgiving giveaway was reinvented to fulfill the rising wants of the group amid a pandemic

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) – What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than giving something to those in need, especially this year when so many are being given it up amid a pandemic?

“We are grateful that our community is doing this for us,” said Maria Espinoza from Oakland as she and her partner drove through a grocery store set up in the Laurel District. “And you know, in these tough times with COVID, it’s nice to have a hot meal.”

City guides and dozens of volunteers gathered on MacArthur Boulevard to hand out hundreds of meals during an event that has been heavily modified to address this year’s significant COVID-19 concerns.

RELATED: SF’s GLIDE Memorial Church hosts an alfresco Thanksgiving brunch for those in need amid a pandemic

Meals were prepackaged and packaged, more than 1000 of them prepared by Oakland chef Jose Ortiz in his local restaurant, La Perla.

“I think we made about 75 to 80 turkeys,” Ortiz said. “It’s nice to see all these people. People don’t notice that people are starving in this city. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Thanksgiving or not.”

“This morning, along with my staff, I distributed 500 hot meals to our roadside and uninhabited communities and seniors,” said Sheng Thao, a member of Oakland City Council. “We wanted to make sure that people who didn’t have vehicles or didn’t live nearby could get hot food.”

RELATED: Bay Area Rescue Mission Feeds 1,000 Thanksgiving Families With “Boxes of Hope”

In addition to food, recipients were offered personal protective equipment in the form of masks, gloves and disinfectants to help them get safely through a vacation few will soon forget.

“This is an unprecedented year. So many families were unemployed. They had great food insecurity,” said Treva Reid, Oakland City Councilor-Elect. “In this way we can get stronger and close together.” This year with a degree of strength, and that was it today for even more families in need. “

Give where you live: Donate to the Bay Area food banks here.

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