City Rescue Mission’s Thanksgiving meal carries on despite pandemic

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It is a tradition that even the coronavirus pandemic couldn’t stop: the City Rescue Mission’s annual Thanksgiving meal for the homeless.

The annual event, held Wednesday, had all the traditions of your typical Thanksgiving celebration: music, gift bags and, of course, a holiday meal packed to go.

“There were times I needed shoes, jackets and food, and I knew they were here,” Chandra Niciu told News4Jax as she picked up her Thanksgiving meal.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry noted that the tradition was different compared to years past. This year, for instance, meals were served in boxes in light of health and safety protocols.

“The great thing is they’re making sure people are being taken care of and being fed,” Curry said.

A new addition this year is a COVID-19 testing site at City Rescue Mission. But the site is not open to the public — only to those picking up a meal for the occasion

“We can get more testing done and know if there’s actually more positives than negatives and it’s important as a whole that we know who’s actually positive,” Dr. Anthony Kissey, a pharmacist, said.

In a year when it seems like there’s not much to be thankful for, the smiles and gratitude prove sometimes all it takes is a hot meal to make most people happy.

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