Giving Thanks During a Pandemic

Nothing is typical in 2020 including Thanksgiving. Not only are people being encouraged to not travel, but many also may not have a traditional Thanksgiving meal due to job loss, hunger, and other hardships. But a small team decided not to let that happen in Montpelier.

This season, National Life Group and Sodexo are joining forces to provide a free Thanksgiving meal to those who need one after learning the 47-year tradition would end due to resource constraints. The team is working with Washington County Youth Service Bureau/Boys & Girls Club which hosted the free community meal in the past.

“Thanksgiving looks a lot different this year,” said Mehran. “Hunger in our community is at a dangerous level for many people. We’re proud to join Sodexo and other community partners to provide a meal to those who need one.”

A small team has been working for weeks to ensure at least 700 meals will be available for at-risk neighbors. All of the food has been donated. Meals will be prepped at Norwich University and assembled and distributed from National Life’s kitchen.

In the past, this meal was a sit-down community event. This year due to Covid-19 restrictions, it will be available as pick-up and delivery only. Pick-up will be the day before Thanksgiving, November 25, from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. outside the Bethany Church in Montpelier or outside National Life’s main entrance. Deliveries will also be made on November 25, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Both a traditional turkey meal and a vegetarian option will be available to reheat.

Meals are also being offered to off campus University of Vermont students who may be at risk during the holiday break. Details on how to register for these meals will be sent out by the UVM Office of Student and Community Relations.

Other community partners helping make this Thanksgiving meal possible include Washington County Youth Service Bureau, Just Basics, the Vermont Foodbank, Hannaford, Central Vermont Medical Center, Hunger Mountain Coop, Cabot Cheese, Vermont Creamery, Chappelle’s Potatoes, the Wayside Diner, Norwich University, and Manghi’s Bread.