EUGENE, Ore. -- Despite the cancelation of the Whiteaker Community Dinner, residents are stepping up to make sure the unhoused population still gets a Thanksgiving meal.
Community members developed plans for a pandemic-safe meal distribution Thursday in Washington Jefferson Park.
Guests must wear masks and be six feet apart as they wait in line for a clamshell meal of roast turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole and cranberry sauce.
Organizer Nick Furrow and another Whiteaker resident are both professional chefs and will prepare the meals. Furrow said he anticipates making between 300 to 400 meals for the homeless.
“The meal is big and full of calories. It's probably a meal-and-a-half or two meals in each clamshell,” Furrow said, noting bags of additional treats will also be handed out. “Everybody will get quite a bit of food out of the event.”
After organizers of the original dinner announced the 31-year-old tradition was coming to an end, Whiteaker resident John Skirving said he wanted to bring it back. Skirving, Furrow and many other community members and groups rallied together to provide some help for the homeless, who have seen resources dwindle as the pandemic rages on.
“See what's happening is everyone is afraid that they're going to do something that will cause the homeless to get sick. And so therefore, no one's doing anything for them. And then they become desperate, starving,” Furrow said.
The meals will be distributed to the unhoused from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Washington Jefferson Park on Nov. 26.
Eugene Catholic Works, Food for Lane County, the Eugene Mission and many others helped make the event happen.