ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Across the Capital Region, people are getting used to a quieter Thanksgiving Day, perhaps with fewer traditions. Despite those changes, one thing remains the same: a sense of gratitude. Today, groups across Albany are taking turns giving back to those in need.
For 70 years, Capital City Rescue Mission has been serving meals to those in need on Thanksgiving. With new safety protocols in place and a team of dedicated volunteers, they are continuing the tradition this year.
Hungry folks lined up to enjoy a hot, full Thanksgiving meal. Volunteers prepared and served over 1,000 meals, and the event started at 11 a.m. with song and sermon.
“I’m so grateful to be alive, especially with the COVID-19 going around. And I’m grateful to have a place to live. Just grateful and thankful for everything,” said one visitor.
To ensure everyone’s safety this year, the church changed its process for presenting and serving food. It was a mix of takeout and socially distanced sit-down meals, with tables cleaned in between.
“Definitely different. I think we all have to have a different mindset, and we’re not using a lot of things we’ve used in the past, and we’re restating some new things,” said Debby, a volunteer hostess. “We’re just doing what we can do the best we can do it.”
Church Pastor Perry Jones says that while there is more need this year due to the pandemic, the spirit of community giving is stronger than before, as well.
“The giving spirit, I’ve never seen as powerful in the Capital Region. When people are down, they seem to just want to help people when they’re down. We have some great people in this area.”
The church said that this year’s dinner presented unique challenges. Still, canceling was not an option.
Across town at the First Presbyterian Church, Equinox Volunteer Lynne Lekakis stood on the corner in front of her parked van with 60 Thanksgiving meals ready to hand out. In past years, the church was the site of their annual Equinox Thanksgiving Dinner. Since it was canceled this year due to the pandemic, they transitioned to delivering takeout meals over the past week.
“This week, I heard 10,240 or something like that was the rough estimate,” Lekakis said.
Just in case people in the area didn’t hear about the change or didn’t get a meal, they wanted to be prepared with meals ready to go for those who need them.