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Food pantries offer food and community safely this Thanksgiving

Kristin Schwab Nov 26, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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Demand at soup kitchens has grown so much during the pandemic that serving into the night is the only way to get food to everyone safely. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
COVID-19

Food pantries offer food and community safely this Thanksgiving

Kristin Schwab Nov 26, 2020
Demand at soup kitchens has grown so much during the pandemic that serving into the night is the only way to get food to everyone safely. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Every year, community kitchens and shelters feed millions of Americans, many of them homeless, on Thanksgiving. This year, the need will be even greater, and it will stretch far beyond Thanksgiving.

Feeding America says 1 in 6 people will experience food insecurity by the end of the year. Organizations in New York City are working to safely provide both food and comfort this holiday.

Masbia Soup Kitchen Network has three locations in Brooklyn and Queens, and they’re now serving meals 24 hours a day, five days a week.

“It’s just so sad that people can be so dire that, 3 a.m., if that’s the slot that they can get, that’s the slot they’ll take,” said Alexander Rapaport, executive director of the soup kitchen network.

Rapaport said demand has grown so much during the pandemic that serving into the night is the only way to get food to everyone safely. That includes Thanksgiving. And, there are other changes.

“People used to come in and have like a restaurant. But now it’s all to-go,” Rapaport said.

The Bowery Mission in Manhattan is also dishing up turkey dinner to-go, with a side of face masks. And there’ll be tables outside with music and decorations.

“People gather around the table and have conversations with perfect strangers. So we’re hoping some of that happens on Thanksgiving Day in a safe way,” said James Winans, president and CEO of the mission.

Because these aren’t just places to get a hot meal. They’re communities for people who may not have them.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What are the details of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief plan?

The $1.9 trillion plan would aim to speed up the vaccine rollout and provide financial help to individuals, states and local governments and businesses. Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration, while advancing his objective of reopening most schools by the spring. It would also include $1,400 checks for most Americans. Get the rest of the specifics here.

What kind of help can small businesses get right now?

A new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans recently became available for pandemic-ravaged businesses. These loans don’t have to be paid back if rules are met. Right now, loans are open for first-time applicants. And the application has to go through community banking organizations — no big banks, for now, at least. This rollout is designed to help business owners who couldn’t get a PPP loan before.

What does the hiring situation in the U.S. look like as we enter the new year?

New data on job openings and postings provide a glimpse of what to expect in the job market in the coming weeks and months. This time of year typically sees a spike in hiring and job-search activity, says Jill Chapman with Insperity, a recruiting services firm. But that kind of optimistic planning for the future isn’t really the vibe these days. Job postings have been lagging on the job search site Indeed. Listings were down about 11% in December compared to a year earlier.

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