Annual Thanksgiving meal distribution adapts to COVID-19 precautions to serve those in need

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
Cook Elijah Miera places a tray of turkey out to help to serve Thanksgiving to-go meals at Daily Bread on Nov. 26, at 405 S. Behrend Ave. in Farmington.
  • Employees and volunteers from People Assisting the Homeless and the Salvation Army handed out about 300 Thanksgiving meals from Daily Bread
  • The to-go meals included turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls and pumpkin pie
  • The meal-distribution partnership provided an avenue to safely feed the community as New Mexico sees its biggest surge of new COVID-19 cases so far

FARMINGTON — Members of the community came together on Thanksgiving to distribute to-go meals in downtown Farmington, taking extra precautions to keep workers safe as they balanced distributing food to those in need with avoiding COVID-19.

Employees and volunteers from People Assisting the Homeless and the Salvation Army’s Farmington Corps branch prepared and handed out meals to the community on Nov. 26 from Daily Bread at 405 S. Behrend Ave.

The Salvation Army typically holds its annual Thanksgiving meal at the Farmington Civic Center with nearly 100 volunteers serving upward to 900 to 1,000 meals.

This year, the workers aimed to serve about 300 meals with a walk-up line and a drive-up line along South Behrend Avenue.

MORE:Salvation Army Farmington Corps offering to-go only meals on Thanksgiving

For Salvation Army Major Tammy Ray, partnering with the people at PATH and Daily Bread provided an avenue to safely feed the community as the state of New Mexico sees its biggest surge of new COVID-19 cases so far.

Vehicles line-up along South Behrend Avenue in Farmington as the Salvation Army and People Assisting the Homeless distribute Thanksgiving to-go meals on Nov. 26 at Daily Bread at 405 S. Behrend Ave.

The partnership helps limit the number of people working to help mitigate the possible spread of COVID-19.

Ursula Begay, the PATH Assistant Director, said Daily Bread is usually closed on Thanksgiving but they were happy to keep it open to help serve people that need a meal on Thanksgiving.

“It’s an honor to be part of this,” Ursula Begay said.

MORE:Aztec Senior Community Center offering drive-thru meals, home deliveries on Thanksgiving

Cook Elijah Miera said he didn’t face too many challenges adjusting to preparing the food at Daily Bread. It was important for Miera to ensure the community was fed on Thanksgiving.

“I actually love to help my community,” Elijah Miera said. “That’s what it’s about, Farmington had a big need in the community.

Rebekka Luna, left, distributes Thanksgiving to-go meals from the Salvation Army and People Assisting the Homeless as Virginia Armstrong, right, tracks how many meals are distributed to the community on Nov. 26 outside Daily Bread at 405 S. Behrend Ave. in Farmington.

The to-go meals contained items including turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls and pumpkin pie.

Vehicles were lined up along South Behrend Avenue before the workers started serving around 11 a.m.

MORE:Piñon Hills Community Church presents holiday meal kits to more than 100 families

Volunteers would run the food from inside Daily Bread out to vehicles on the street, also passing along a bag with silverware, candy and water.

A Farmington Police Department officer was stationed outside to monitor traffic.

Ray told The Daily Times it’s been a challenge to fundraise for the Salvation Army as the coronavirus pandemic flared up this year.

Misty Miera, right, helps prepare turkey as Larry Chacon, left, assists in the kitchen as they prepare food for Thanksgiving to-go meals on Nov. 26 at Daily Bread at 405 S. Behrend Ave. in Farmington.

The signature Red Kettles haven’t been deployed to stores around the state, which Ray described as a significant fundraiser.

Ray was also concerned about the Angel Tree program, which helps deliver gifts to children in the community.

The Salvation Army website said it helps more than 800 children in the Farmington area.

With the closure of non-essential businesses, the Angel Trees haven’t been distributed throughout the community.

Those interested in donating to the Salvation Army or adopting an Angel, can visit farmington.salvationarmy.org.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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