GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — We’re now two weeks away from Thanksgiving and there’s no doubt the Coronavirus will change how we all celebrate.
The need is much greater this year for holiday meals for those who can’t afford one. That’s why Mel Trotter Ministries is asking for nearly 1,000 more turkeys than in 2019.
“We all are in need. We all are in need of the ability to feel loved, to feel cared for, to feel united,” said Beth Fisher, Vice President of Communication and Advancement for Mel Trotter Ministries.
Their organization is working overtime during a pandemic, to make sure families are fed on Thanksgiving.
“It’s been interesting to say the least,” said Fisher. “It is, right when we think we have a direction and something that will work we realize very quickly that we have to scale back or pivot and just say ‘you know what this won’t work because we just can’t keep people safe’”.
This year’s annual banquet at Devos Place is canceled due to COVID. That’s why MTM partnered with Kids’ Food Basket to make prepackaged meals that people can take home and cook.
“So, keep in mind too that the folks that we traditionally feed at Devos Place are not necessarily homeless. They’re under-resourced people in the community who don’t have the funds or the availability to go out and purchase a complete Thanksgiving meal,” she said.
Generous donations brought in more than 1,600 turkeys last year. This year, with more people out of work, they’re looking for 2,500 during the annual “turkey drop” on November 18th. That’s enough meat to feed more than 10,000 people.
“So, it’s sort of a like a drive-by situation,” said Fisher, “you can come in, curbside service if you will, so obviously we will not be around people but if you just want to drive up and bring the turkeys we will be gathering them that day, collecting them through our refrigerated food trucks and then we, Mel Trotter Ministries, will drive those received turkeys to kids food basket.”
Anyone who normally would’ve gone to Devos Place for a meal can now get a prepackaged option at 14 participating pantries. KFB will package the turkeys up with Thanksgiving staples.
“Mashed potatoes, corn, rolls, stuffing and so forth,” said Fisher. “We are also preparing pies as part of this as well. Then Kids’ Food Basket is going to kinda augment the rest of it that goes inside of that with educational materials as well as recipes with how to cook like a not-dry turkey and some culturally sound foods as well, so yea we’re excited about that.”
MTM is also planning to serve 600 meals on Thanksgiving Day for those experiencing homelessness. That will take place from 11AM to 1PM with COVID precautions in place.
“We also are, through our HOT team, our ‘Homeless Outreach Team’, going out into the community because not everybody wants to come into the mission but certainly they also deserve a Thanksgiving meal.
This year’s turkey drop is coming up Wednesday from 7AM to 7PM at Celebration Cinema North and South.