BOSTON — The tradition lives on at the Pine Street Inn in Boston despite the pandemic.
Although this year it did look a little different, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh gave two thumbs up at the 51st Thanksgiving Dinner at Pine Street Inn.
Despite the pandemic, the shelter figured out a way to host their sit-down dinner. The carving was done outside.
In a video from last year’s event, it’s clear that it’d be impossible to follow today’s pandemic protocols.
“Thanksgiving is a special day in this city and this country and for people who have things to recognize how much they have and not having it is just emotionally is devastating,” said Pine Street Inn President Lyndia Downie.
Pine Street shared photos showing how they set up the spaced out dining room, even using plexiglass to protect staff workers. The hundreds of volunteers who usually help were asked not to participate for safety reasons.
“We don’t want our volunteers to get sick either so we made the decision to not have volunteers at Thanksgiving and I have to tell you it was a heartbreaking decision,” said Downie.
Walsh, Boston Police Commissioner William Gross and other dignitaries say this dinner helps remind people struggling that they are not alone in this.
“Seeing people put their own personal health to side and seeing these acts of courage from the beginning of the pandemic whether it’s grocery store clerk, police officer, firefighter, EMS or a staff person here at Pine Street Inn,” said Walsh.
“I can honestly say in the middle of a pandemic people are going forward cheering,” said Gross. “The individuals that we touch with our gratitude and thank yous and letting them know they are still human too.”
Pine Street Inn served up its usual 100 and more turkeys along with sides and pies.
“It is a beautiful sensation, you know, Thanksgiving only comes around once a year,” said Michael Pina, a guest at Pine Street Inn.
Pina was at Pine Street last year and says the pandemic this year has him appreciating the generosity even more.
“I’m thankful to God, Thanksgiving and the turkeys,” said Pina.
Pine Street also relied on a hotel nearby they are leasing to help space all of the guests out. The program, even during the pandemic, was able to serve just as many dinners as in years past.
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