Enfield Soup Kitchen to Offer Take-Home Thanksgiving Meals Due to the Pandemic ~ Journal Inquirer: November 23, 2021, Written by Susan Danseyar
Nov 30, 2021
ENFIELD — For the second year in a row, the Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen is following COVID-19 pandemic safety precautions and offering take-home prepared Thanksgiving meals rather than having a sit-down dinner on Thanksgiving Eve for those in need.
The take-home Thanksgiving meals will be available from 4 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday at the soup kitchen’s new location of 23 N. Main St., formerly the site of Silvia’s Thompsonville Café, which moved to Pleasant Street.
Executive Director Maya Nicole Matthews, who took over the helm at the soup kitchen following the retirement of Priscilla Brayson in June after more than 30 years, said Monday that the traditional Thanksgiving meal will consist of roast turkey with gravy, masked potatoes, stuffing, candied yams, green bean casserole, and pie. Local churches are donating the pies.
In addition, Matthews said, the take-home meals will include sandwiches so people will have extra food for Thanksgiving Day, when the soup kitchen will be closed.
The soup kitchen’s usual hours are 4 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and Sunday, and 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. The cooks prepare a complete meal every day, Matthews said.
This year, she said the soup kitchen will prepare about 30 turkeys and is expecting to serve at least 400 people.
“This organization has never had this much need in the community before,” Matthews said in reference to the food insecurity caused by the pandemic. In 2019, she said the soup kitchen served about 80 to 90 people daily compared with about 200 people for the past two years.
Matthews said she is thankful for the many volunteers who keep Loaves and Fishes stocked with food, and cook and serve the hungry people in the community.
She said Loaves and Fishes used to have a sit-down dinner inside the soup kitchen on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and every other day of the week but, when the pandemic hit, everyone needed to be safe so a decision was made to offer those in need take-out meals to bring home instead of having everyone dine in.
“We don’t have the capacity for people to come in and eat so we’ll once again have people walk up or drive through to pick up meals,” said Matthews, who will be supervising her first Thanksgiving meal distribution at the soup kitchen.
On Monday, as she was preparing for the big day, she said the soup kitchen is all set with food and volunteers and that things were going quite well.
“It’s wonderful to have this for the community,” she said.
She expressed special thanks to the individuals, businesses, and organizations who helped out with food and fundraising drives for the Thanksgiving Eve food distribution effort, and to the volunteers.