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Here's how people are giving back while staying safe during the holidays

Giving back to the less fortunate is a part of many people’s Thanksgiving traditions. Here's how to keep that tradition alive and stay safe at the same time.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — For the last decade, Giving for Loss has served meals to those in need on Thanksgiving, but this year, due to the pandemic, they have had to make some changes.

“Normally we have a lot of volunteers, but we’ve cut it down because of the social distancing. So, we went from 20 volunteers down to about six or seven,” said Mike Harris, president of Giving for Loss.

Harris said the plan is to give 300 chicken dinners to the homeless in South Sacramento, but he knows many living on the street are at high risk to catching the virus.

“Each route we sanitize. We change gloves to make sure we aren’t taking anything back in case we accidently touch somebody’s hand or something that they were holding,” Harris said.

Giving back to those in need is a Thanksgiving tradition for Charyle Thomas, who said every volunteer had to get a temperature check and a test before they could help this year.

“We’ve all been COVID tested and we all came back negative, so we do it every three weeks or so to make sure our tests are up to speed...” Thomas said.

Rolando Villareal with Sacramento County said holiday volunteering during the pandemic is safe if you take the proper steps.

“I think the safest way is having a drive-through volunteer program,” Villareal said.

Villareal said, if you are going to volunteer, make sure to wash your hands, wear a mask and gloves and be socially distant.

He said people should not volunteer when they’re ill, when they have traveled and if they're in a high risk category. He also said people shouldn't bring their kids to volunteer this holiday season.

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