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COVID-19 changes the way Northeast Ohio charities, businesses give back this Thanksgiving

Instead of serving sit-down turkey dinners, those in need of Thanksgiving meals were greeted with to-go bags and drive-thru services.

CLEVELAND — The risk of the Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way Northeast Ohio charities and businesses are giving back this Thanksgiving.

Instead of serving sit-down dinners, those in need of Thanksgiving meals were greeted with to-go bags and drive-thru services.

St. Augustine Hunger Center delivers thousands of meals:

Every year, the St. Augustine Hunger Center provides Thanksgiving meals to those in need.

But as we all know, this is not an ordinary year – and because the majority of meals had to be picked up and dropped off – that meant the church needed a lot more volunteers.

It was something that Sister Corita Ambro was worried about, until she arrived at St. Augustine's on Thanksgiving morning and saw a long line of cars.

Credit: WKYC

“That line is all the people who are coming to deliver food for us and that's a blessing,” said Sister Corita Ambro, St. Augustine Hunger Center.

Gail Herwerden is one of those volunteers, picking up food to deliver.

“We're thankful that we have this opportunity to help people in need. It’s great to see Cleveland showing up big here today,” said Herwerden.

Sister Ambro says volunteers are following a safety protocol.

“They don’t go in the homes. They leave the food on the porch. I’m so grateful they’re willing to do it,” said Sister Ambro.

She expects St. Augustine will deliver more than 15,000 meals this Thanksgiving.

Gypsy Beans provides to-go meals:

Over on the West Side of Cleveland, Gypsy Beans is giving back through individually packaged to-go meals.

“They each have roasted turkey, green bean casserole, homemade stuffing, sweet rolls and pumpkin pie,” said Nicole Brichaek, Gypsy Beans owner.

Brichaek said she always wanted to provide Thanksgiving meals to those in need. She felt this was the year the community needed it the most.

“There are so many people out of work. And to show love to them through a meal was what we wanted to do,” said Brichaek.

Credit: WKYC

And we could certainly feel that love as a Cleveland man picked up his dinner. We asked him what he was looking forward too.

“A good wholesome meal with the one I love,” he said.

We also talked with a grandmother of seven, who was picking up some meals.

“I'm thankful that all my grandkids are healthy,” she said.

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