For those helping people in need, COVID-19 presents difficulties for Thanksgiving

BOSTON — The agencies who help people in need are approaching Thanksgiving in different ways this year because of the pandemic. A hot meal on Thanksgiving Day is still the priority during the pandemic, it will just happen a little differently.

“This year we are not able to welcome people in because of COVID, so we are doing meals to go,” Haley House Executive Director Bing Broderick said.

Haley House in Boston traditionally hosts multiple dinners on Thanksgiving Day. Their plan this year is to serve them to go.

“We will be helping the same number of people, maybe more, but it won’t be the gathering that we usually have,” Broderick said.

>>>MORE: Changing protocols making Thanksgiving Day planning challenging

United Way is also altering their plan for helping people in need.

“Because of the concerns around COVID, we are going to give gift cards that are equal value to the food we usually distribute to families,” said Bob Giannino, the president & CEO of United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.

United Way said it is working to help 15,000 families in their region, which is up from 11,000 families they helped last year.

“There are a million people who are food-insecure across the Commonwealth of Mass., so we wanted to step up and do our part and try to meet the demand this year,” Giannino said.

With the increased demand and new challenges, agencies are asking people to contribute and sponsor their work.

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