Turkey dinners with all the great sides are headed for New Yorkers who can't leave their homes because of their life altering illnesses, lovingly prepared by volunteers. God's Love We Deliver has been doing it for 35 years.
"They get to celebrate, they get to be remembered, they know that they are part of a community and we are serving the people that are truly the most vulnerable during COVID-19,”said Karen Pearl, President and CEO of the organization based in SoHo.
The organization, which started with one hospice worker making meals for an AIDS patient who was too ill to cook, has seen an increase in demand for their medically tailored meals due to the Coronavirus.
Since March, the number has increased from 8,000 meals a day to 11,000, and that's with fewer volunteers in the kitchen helping out because of social distancing. Still, some 1,400 volunteers will be lending a hand during the Thanksgiving week. Among them is City Council Member Carlina Rivera, who has a personal connection to the organization. A family friend who has since passed away, benefitted from God’s Love’s services.
"To be a small part of this amazing community really is something I think is really great for the soul especially during COVID-19, especially during the holidays," said Rivera.
The volunteering doesn't end in the kitchen. Volunteer drivers assist in getting meals to folks across the five boroughs.
We followed Deb Wasser on a run to Brooklyn Heights, where she brought meals to a 94-year-old Veteran and Opera lover named Robert. In addition to his own meal, he also gets one for a friend, neighbor, loved one or caregiver that he can share it with.
Wasser didn’t just drop the meal and go, though it was done with COVID-19 protocols to protect the health of all involved. She chatted with Robert, asked how he was doing, and wished him a happy Thanksgiving.
For some of those who receive meals, the delivery is welcome socially distant contact with others, especially for those who simply cannot leave their homes during the pandemic.
Find out more about God’s Love We Deliver at GLWD.org