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St. Mary’s Catholic Church sets aside sit-down holiday meal tradition, opting for ‘to go’ instead

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St. Mary's Catholic Church continued a Thanksgiving Day tradition by feeding the hungry. But because of COVID-19, carry-out meals were provided rather than the normal sit-down meal for guests.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) - COVID-19 is changing our lives in so many ways.

St. Mary's Catholic Church downtown yielded to the threat posed by the novel coronavirus on Thanksgiving Day.

The church has a long history of feeding the hungry on the special holiday.

The routine carried on this year, with carry-out meals offered rather than the normal sit-down meal inside the church.

In the interest of protecting public health, the sit-down event was scrapped.

In the minutes leading up to 11 o'clock Thursday morning, people lined up outside St. Mary's, anticipating the chance to get a delicious Thanksgiving meal.

Because of COVID-19, organizers decided against the regular sit-down dinner, opting for individually boxed meals that visitors could pick up and take with them.

On the down side, it cut down on the opportunity for interaction and fellowship.

"One of the things I miss is actually sitting down and sharing a meal with somebody," said Patrick McBride, who is the chairman of the St. Mary's Thanksgiving Day dinner.

"I do that every year and pick up a meal and go sit down at the table, talk to the folks, ask how they liked the food, did they like it or not, and I miss that. We've got to do what we've got to do. We've got to keep people safe," McBride said.

Deb McKee, who came to eat, was grateful for the food, even if it didn't come with conversation.

"I think it's very charitable they do this for people, because you never know if you're going to end up in a line like this. I truly appreciate being able to get a ride here to get a dinner, I truly appreciate it," McKee said.

The event was set up to serve 500 meals.

Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer is a reporter for WPTA.

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