Organizations providing food for the needy at Thanksgiving say they're operating with fewer volunteers now than before the pandemic.
Michael Reinke, the director of Nashua’s Soup Kitchen and Shelter, says his staffing has fallen by more than half. This year, he says there are only a handful of volunteers distributing food.
“People have been rightly conscious about coming into volunteer and quite honestly most of our volunteers are over the age of 70,” Reinke said. “We encourage them not to do volunteering which means that we’re having to do an awful lot with a very skeleton staff.”
Before the pandemic, families could pick out their food. But, because of health precautions, the program is pre-packaging groceries for pickup. The facility is also hosting mobile pantries throughout the city.
“It requires more time in the building and more contact with different people,” he said. “Here’s your turkey, and then off you go.”
Many families are needing these services now more than ever.
"They feel the love and support from the entire community to help during a difficult situation," Reinke added.
He says the demand for food assistance is high, and the program is feeding more than a hundred families per day.