SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Volunteers at the Rescue Mission in Syracuse were busy Thanksgiving morning, preparing and packing more than 2,000-holiday meals for the community.
Some volunteers, who ordinarily would have used the morning to prepare their own holiday dinner, pitched in to deliver meals to families in need.
“I know that there’s a lot of people that are home alone, especially more isolated this year than normal, so I thought if I could help, then I would,” Jackie Derito, a volunteer from Baldwinsville, says.
The Rescue Mission prepared 1,200 pounds of turkey coupled with all of the fixings and sent them off in to-go bags, made extra special by the community.
“Obviously even in schools, kids have been decorating a lot of the to-go bags so you can see this is a typical to-go bag but you know, kids decorate them and dropped them off weeks ago,” Dan Sieburg, CEO of the Rescue Mission Alliance, says.
Sieburg says the group made a couple of changes this year to keep everyone safe. There were a limited number of volunteers who packed the bags, all of whom were socially distanced. The mission was also handing out meals in three ways: during a small, safe dinner for shelter residents, by take-out for the community, or through contactless delivery by volunteers.
“We just know that people are still hungry,” Sieburg says. “The take-out, to-go meal delivery services are way up this year because we’ve encouraged a lot of people who are elderly or maybe have some pre-existing conditions to stay home. And so, we’re out there delivering more delivered meals, more than ever before.”
While those Thanksgiving meals head out the door, their work is never done. The Rescue Mission says it’s anticipating a great need for Christmas meals as well.
“If individuals are thinking they might need a meal for Christmas, call in early so we can get you scheduled because it takes, I mean, weeks of prep to get 2,100 meals out so if we have to do 2,200 or 2,300 by Christmas, we just need that much more prep time,” Sieburg adds.
If you’d like to help, the Rescue Mission says there are still some open volunteer slots for Christmas. They are also accepting monetary donations, which they say goes a long way when operating with fewer volunteers. Learn how you can help here.