COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Almeta Crayton Community Program was able to provide citizens with more than 1,300 meals Thursday. Hundreds of cars lined up outside of the Columbia Senior Activity Center for curbside assistance.
This year the annual Everybody Eats Thanksgiving event looked different due to the pandemic.
This marked the 23rd year of Almeta Crayton’s Community Programs' Everybody Eats free Thanksgiving meal. This year COVID-19 safety guidelines changed and restricted what is usually a community fellowship event.
Meals were given to patrons via curbside pickup and walkup. Patrons had to remain outside of the building and they were not able to stay and eat their meals at the location.
Everyone was required to wear a mask including all volunteers and anyone coming to receive meals.
All volunteers received a health screening upon arrival and were required to wear a mask throughout their entire time of service, the organization said. Volunteers were required to stay 6 feet apart at all times.
The organization is also keeping a list of volunteers for 60 days in case contact tracing is necessary.
Any patrons who tested positive for COVID or showing symptoms of the virus were asked not to come to the event.
Meal pickup happened at the Columbia Senior Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
This year's cook, Steve Touchton, a member of the Almeta Crayton Community Program, said, "This year we're giving out turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, corn and green beans, macaroni and cheese, and we're also serving dressing and some pie."
Touchton said there is no limit to the amount of food people can take home. "We encourage everybody every year it doesn't matter if you don't get full, well come through the line again and it's still the same thing this year. You can pull out and come right back in. We want everybody to be full we want everybody to be thankful because we are."
Reverend James Gray said more volunteers helped out this year because of the pandemic.
“More people get it, they get it. They understand that there's people in need. How do we help.", Gray explained. As cars continued to line up to receive meals Gray said, "As you could look at our drive-thru you have couples, you have single people, you have people with just one person and their animal and so we have no idea what they may be going through. Almeta Crayton the dream of hers was to make sure nobody goes without and that they know that there's love in our community."
Volunteers continued to express that is was important for them to participate in order to continue the legacy of the founder Almeta Crayton and former director Kentrell Minton, who recently passed.