(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) On Thanksgiving, many families gather around the dinner table and give thanks to a turkey dinner- but for some in St. Joseph, the ground was their Thanksgiving table.
Thursday morning, a constant stream of cars and people arrived outside the side door of the Open Door Food Kitchen and picked up a take out box.
It's how the local food kitchen served Thanksgiving safely from COVID-19 this year.
“We really feel for our patrons right now. They can’t come in and be warm and eat with us right now,” said Marsha Rosenthal, Open Door Food Kitchen Board President.
Since March 18th, Open Door Food Kitchen has been serving St. Joseph's homeless and struggling outside their side door. Rosenthal said the coronavirus safety measures made inside dining nearly impossible.
“We were serving nearly 250 patrons a day. There was no way to social distance that many. Staff would have been here all day long, just serving them,” said Rosenthal.
The grab n' go Thanksgiving meals were packaged with all the traditional fixings: turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, stuffing, a roll and even a slice of pie.
The board of directors spending their Thanksgiving morning scooping and dishing up the 300 meals- a number they've never hit before in 36 years.
It's not hard to imagine why the the local food kitchen is serving more hungry people this year.
“First of all COVID. Second of all, homelessness- loss of jobs. I’m afraid it’s going to get worse before it gets better,” said Rosenthal.
Is it a traditional sit down turkey dinner? No. Not by any means, but for Garry Petitt, it's a Thanksgiving meal he wouldn't have had otherwise.
“No, no. I wouldn’t have. It’s not too bad. It could be worse. It could be snowing or raining," said Garry Petitt, Open Door Food Kitchen patron.
The St. Johns Church in Tarkio usually comes up and cooks the turkey dinner for the local food kitchen, but siding on safety, the church decided to donate $300 to the kitchen instead for the holiday meal.