(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) For families facing job loss, furloughs and the weight of COVID-19's financial strain, Thanksgiving dinner isn't in the budget.
“If it wasn’t for this, we wouldn’t be eating at all,” said Jim Davis, Second Harvest Turkey Day recipient.
That's why hundreds of cars lined up on Tuesday morning for Second Harvest's 10th annual Turkey Day distribution. It was a voucher-only distribution event.
“We’re going to be giving out 750 holiday boxes for Turkey Day,” said Blake Haynes, Communication Coordinator for Second Harvest Food Bank.
Families idled bumper to bumper for eight blocks of Grand Avenue, waiting to fill their backseat with a turkey and all the fixings.
Haynes said the first car pulled up to the distribution event at 6:30 a.m. The event didn't start until 11 a.m.
“I didn’t come until 11:30 and I started at 17th street,” said Lois Kay Sherman, Second Harvest Turkey Day recipient.
Davis and Sherman waited behind hundreds of people financially burned by the pandemic, just like them.
“Oh well, I ain’t working no more. It’s really, really tight,” said Davis.
Sherman said if it wasn't for Second Harvest's Turkey Day, her household would have had to scale back their dinner.“It hurts cause we don’t have enough to go around for medicine and food and utilities and everything.”
The local food bank has served 2.7 million more meals this year than last. Haynes said long lines like Tuesday's are evidence there are more hungry mouths to feed this year.
“You know, being able to offset some of the cost for families during the holiday season is just so important. If you think about the cost of your traditional meals, try and imagine going through the pandemic and being one of those individuals that might have had job loss or may have been furloughed,” said Haynes.
To sign up for Second Harvest's next voucher-required distribution event happening early December, call 816-364-3663.