SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento Loaves & Fishes' Thanksgiving meal will be served inside the organization's dining room Tuesday for the first time since 2019.
Staff and volunteers have been working for days to prepare turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and more to feed the homeless.
The organization will try to make guests feel welcomed and seen during a holiday that can be a time of loneliness for many, said Executive Director Angela Hassell.
"People that are homeless don’t always have a family, don’t always have folks that they share these celebratory moments with," Hassell said. "And we try to give them that opportunity to do that with us here."
As temperatures fall in Northern California, life on the street is "terrible," according to Omar Duarte, who stopped at Loaves & Fishes Monday for a blanket.
Duarte is one of the more than 9,000 people experiencing homelessness in Sacramento County, according to this year's Point in Time count. For many, hunger is a constant concern.
"Food. It’s all I care about right now. I can’t find a place to live because it’s too much money," said Duarte.
Loaves & Fishes says it is providing the option for guests to enjoy their meal outdoors, for those who are still hesitant to eat outdoors at the nearby Friendship Park.
Live music from the Good Times Blues Band will help remind guests "they are worthy of celebrations created with them in mind."
Loaves & Fishes said the special meal would not be possible without generous support from the community, as individuals, local businesses and other nonprofit organizations provide everything from frozen turkeys to utensils.