Despite COVID, volunteers worked hard to ensure a warm Thanksgiving meal

Despite challenges from the coronavirus this year, volunteers in Northeast D.C. pushed-on this Saturday, to make sure each of the 2,700+ families served by Project Giveback Thanksgiving each year, will still have a warm holiday this year.

The 26th annual event looked a little different than it has in years past, when Project Giveback volunteers and recipients packed the D.C. Armory. Project Giveback’s founders describe it as an emotional site.

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“We have a demographic that we target - Underprivileged families and we focus on children. But now with the pandemic, that’s a new demographic of people who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic that we’re trying to meet those needs as well,” said Project Giveback Thanksgiving founder, Ransom Miller.

“When we take the boxes to children and they see cereal, they go, ‘Oh my God, we have cereal!’ It just fuels our fire,” said co-founder and Ransom’s wife, HarDisha Miller, “There’s so many more families that need our help. The blessing is that we can impact somebody during this holiday seasons.”

Instead of one large site, the pair split the day-long event into two and used the Turkey Thicket Recreation Center in Northeast D.C. as one of eight distribution sites where volunteers prepared, packaged and shipped off means on Saturday. The operation will continue on Monday.

Each family will get a turkey meal and added items to help ensure a warm holiday. Volunteers came from all over D.C.

“That somebody cares. Somebody cares about them and wants to make sure that they have food to eat here during the holiday season,” said Ronnette Meyers, describing what she hopes each box will mean to each family who gets one. Meyers say her businesses was saved thanks to PPP loans, but understands the many constraints on families this pandemic has caused.

“I think it’s so important that during this time, during the pandemic, where so many people don’t have - people are losing jobs, things are very challenging, those of us who are able to give back have to make sure we continue to do so, because but the grace of God, it could be me,” said Meedie Bardonille, who tells FOX 5 DC, she is a Nurse and understands the impact of the virus first-hand.

Project Giveback will deliver those meal boxes and include contact-free delivery. We’re told some Virginia families who do not get a food donation will receive gift cards. Organizers say it was important that everyone they know in need get something.