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Rather than clinking dishes and dishes in a crowded banquet room, on Tuesday you could hear squealing tires and suitcases opening, loading and then closing in the garage of the Downtown Oakland City Center Marriott hotel. The urban tradition is known as Community Thanksgiving Day.
Dozens of volunteers buzzed on assembly lines to pack and distribute 3,500 meals – an increase from 2,000 meals in past years – to residents of roadways and pedestrian stations, as well as food pantries throughout the city. After the food was prepared, volunteers also handed it out from vans, which they manually hauled around the southwestern tip of Lake Merritt around noon.
While its format was different from the usual in-person dinner hosted by the city’s anti-hunger program, the 30th annual event flourished as always with donations: $ 26 paid for one meal for one guest this year, and $ 104 fed a family of four. Founded in 1985 during the time of Lionel J. Wilson City Hall, the Hunger Program, now hosted by the city’s Department of Human Services, has served residents year round since 1991 and has provided Thanksgiving holiday dinners to low-income families, seniors since 1991. people and the unprotected.
“We are grateful to the many volunteers who have generously donated their time and resources to this wonderful event,” said Sarah Bedford, Director of Human Services. “The pandemic has led to tremendous isolation and food insecurity. On this day, we safely come together to share a festive meal and remind ourselves of the power and joy of coming together as a community. ”