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St. Mary’s holiday meal event continues as ‘carry-out’ due to COVID-19 threat

Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 5:30 PM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) - St. Mary’s Catholic Church downtown has a long history of providing meals to the hungry on Thanksgiving Day. But for a second straight year, the pandemic forced a switch in how the food changed hands. Normally, hundreds of people show up at the church, get served food, then enjoy a sit-down lunch.

Because of the COVID-19 threat, this Thanksgiving the meals again were packed up as “to go” orders. Around 50 volunteers helped out in the church kitchen preparing about 1,000 meals. The team cooked up around one-thousand pounds of turkey, plus mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, stuffing, rolls and pumpkin pies.

Before 11 a.m., folks began lining up outside, hungry for a holiday feast. Instead of having servers fill plates for visitors, the food was bagged up for carry-out. The routine of people sitting around tables and sharing a meal was deemed too risky.

“I would never want this event to be known as a superspreader. I mean, we have to protect people so we are going to do the best that we can and still provide them with a meal,” said Patrick McBride, who is the St. Mary’s holiday meal chairman.

“We’re on the downturn, a lot of people are fully vaccinated, but the numbers are still too high,” said Rob Wilson, who came with his wife to the church for food to go.

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