Norman Nonprofit Prepares For First Thanksgiving During Pandemic


Saturday, November 7th 2020, 8:06 pm
By: Tevis Hillis


NORMAN, Okla. -

A Norman nonprofit, Food & Shelter, Inc., is preparing for its annual Thanksgiving meal, but COVID-19 is putting a damper on the large community meal.

"Our food pantry numbers were exceedingly high,” Food & Shelter executive director April Heiple said. “We were sometimes seeing three, four, 500 percent increases day after day after day.”

Heiple said they had to get creative to continue hosting their Thanksgiving tradition.

"We are going to try to keep as many in their homes as possible,” Heiple said. “We want to deliver meals for families that cannot afford things you need for Thanksgiving -- turkey, potatoes, and pie. We are going to cater for them. We are going to cook it and package it up together, and they just can come down here and heat it up."

Between delivering meals and packaging them, Food & Shelter is also helping those who are without a place to call home.

"Those folks need a place they can eat Thanksgiving, so we are still going to serve those folks just in a smaller quantity and safer manner," Heiple said.

The annual dinner brought in 1,300 people in 2019. The nonprofit hopes to serve just as many this year.

"This year, we expect to serve just as many people if not more people,” Heiple said. “Just in a different manner.”

There are already more than 70 families signed up for Thanksgiving meals, but it will take lots of manpower to deliver those meals.

"Volunteers are the backbone of our organization and this specific meal," Heiple said.

If you are interested in volunteering, you can click here.