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COVID prompts switch to ‘carry-out’ for St. Mary’s holiday meal event

Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 5:14 PM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - A long-standing Thanksgiving Day tradition in Fort Wayne carried on, but the pandemic forced a change in how St. Mary’s Catholic Church downtown provided holiday meals. Normally, hundreds of people show up at the church, get served food, then enjoy a sit-down lunch.

Because of the COVID-19 threat, for a second straight year the meals were packed up as “to go” orders. Around 50 volunteers helped out in the church kitchen preparing about 1,000 meals. The team cooked up around one-thousand pounds of turkey, plus mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, stuffing, rolls and pumpkin pies.

Before 11 a.m., folks began lining up outside, hungry for a holiday feast. Instead of having servers fill plates for visitors, the food was bagged up for carry-out. The routine of people sitting around tables and sharing a meal was deemed too risky.

“I would never want this event to be known as a superspreader. I mean, we have to protect people so we are going to do the best that we can and still provide them with a meal,” said Patrick McBride, who is the St. Mary’s holiday meal chairman.

“We’re on the downturn, a lot of people are fully vaccinated, but the numbers are still too high,” said Rob Wilson, who came with his wife to the church for food to go.

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