SEATTLE — With the Thanksgiving holiday just days away, organizations in Washington that feed the hungry are struggling to rapidly adapt to the new coronavirus restrictions.
In a typical year, the building OSL operates out of in Seattle is filled with tables, chairs and hustling volunteers preparing a warm atmosphere and a hot meal for those in need on Thanksgiving, but not in 2020.
“There’s a sense of comfort while they are sitting and eating and when COVID hit, we had to move everything outside,” said Kellie Bell, executive chef for OSL, an organizations that feeds thousands of homeless and underserved people in the community every day.
She said thanksgiving is one her favorite days of the year, but this time it looks different.
“The to go boxes,” she said. “This is not necessarily what we want to do, but at least everyone is getting fed.”
Instead of a hot buffet style meal and space to eat they are preparing boxed dinners to be passed out on Thanksgiving. And it’s a Thanksgiving that is sure to be one of the busiest they’ve ever seen.
“On Thanksgiving day there’s going to be a tremendous amount of people who are still hurting and still need our services,” said Gina Hall, executive director for Uplift Northwest.
OSL is partnering with Uplift Northwest, an organization that assists with finding jobs and resources for those in need, to help provide meals this year.
“Because of the high cost of living in Seattle there’s a disproportionate amount of people that are really struggling. Now, post-COVID the needs are so much greater,” Hall said.
More people than ever need their services and while they can’t help everyone, they said they won’t give up on those they can.
“This pandemic has changed everything about how we, Uplift Northwest, does our work. What it hasn’t changed is, we’re still committed to the individuals, the men and women who walk through our doors every day,” Hall said.
“I mean everything literally just changed and when I tell you we didn’t skip a beat, we didn’t skip a beat,” said Bell.