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'Thanksgiving for Paso Robles' volunteers serve up free meals during 36th annual event

Posted at 10:37 PM, Nov 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-27 01:46:42-05

The 36th annual 'Thanksgiving for Paso Robles' event has changed from the traditional dine-in format due to COVID-19.

This year featured a drive-thru setting at St. Rose Church where volunteers served meals to community members in their cars from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“There’s a lot of folks in need this year that weren’t last year. COVID has struck a tremendous blow to many people, and we’re just trying to make everybody’s holiday a little bit brighter," "Thanksgiving for Paso Robles" Director David Kudija said.

The number of volunteers were cut back this year to about 160 people due to the pandemic.

Despite the change from the traditional format, there was no shortage of people in need of a meal.

The nonprofit served more than 1,500 meals to community members needing food for the holiday.

With the help of donations, 'Thanksgiving for Paso Robles' was able to purchase about $7,000 worth of food.

Many residents who received a meal said they are missing family who couldn't be with them this holiday.

“You can’t see family or friends anymore and you miss your loved ones a lot," Paso Robles resident David Scranton said.

Another community member, Tim Kerrigan says, was unable to celebrate with family this year, but said the sense of community in Paso Robles helped lift his spirits this holiday.

“This town's always had a good camaraderie with everyone in it," Kerrigan said.

Some meal staples like pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce were fan favorites, as volunteers prepped meals at the Centennial Park kitchen.

“Everything is a little more spread out this year, but it’s working really, really well," Thanksgiving for Paso Robles event coordinator Bravo said.

In addition to those who picked up their food, about 350 meals were delivered to community members in northern San Luis Obispo County.

“It’s just really rewarding to know that we are filling a need in our community for those who don’t have a Thanksgiving meal," Bravo said.

On Thursday, 'Thanksgiving for Paso Robles' also served meals at Paso Cares and the ECHO shelter in Atascadero.