The Alpine Community Center will once again be delivering Thanksgiving dinners to seniors and families in need this year.
Director of Operations Shane Greer said volunteers have been delivering the dinners for several years but “with the pandemic this year, we weren’t sure if we’d be able to pull it off”.
The community center, which relies on membership and large-scale events for sustenance has been closed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic for all but the food pantry and senior lunches on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“Each Thanksgiving, we serve about 50 households and many are single, homebound seniors with no family; some are bigger families with up to six people. We’re getting phone calls asking about Thanksgiving because we’re the solution they’ve relied on for the past few years,” Greer said.
Over the past decade the delivered dinner has been through a few iterations: community center volunteers used to team up with Alpine Kiwanis members and deliver meals directly to homes, said Greer but switched to a partnership with Albertson’s grocery store a few years back.
Unfortunately, the store has changed their approach to philanthropy and community center volunteers had to pivot this year and once again find a way to deliver dinners directly from the facility.
“Everyone has stepped up and somehow we’re going to make this dinner happen for everyone who needs it, especially our homebound seniors. We’re getting turkeys donated from one of our members,” Greer said.
He also reached out to Barons Market and “they’re helping to provide dessert, stuffing rolls, cranberry sauce” that can all be portioned out at the community center kitchen. “We are an industrial, health-permitted kitchen, we can run like a restaurant and we have the facilities to do it— we are used to catering large events and we have two licensed members to work in the kitchen so we’ll be cooking everything on site and providing delivery,” Greer said.
The Knights of Columbus, a charitable organization affiliated with the Catholic church reached out this year, he said and are providing funding to purchase to-go containers.
“In past years, we’ve had parents and children volunteer to deliver meals and unfortunately we’ve had to minimize that group of volunteers this year with a strict vetting process to keep it safe. Sadly, that is one part that I wish could be different because we— my wife and kids and I— have delivered for years and one of the brightest moments for some of the home bound seniors is having that interaction with kids bringing the Thanksgiving dinner,” Greer said.
For this year, Alpine Library Friends Association donated a coupon for a free book from their shop so “there is still some love coming from the community” this year, Greer said, that will get tucked into every delivery bag thanks to library volunteer Bonnie Burchill.
Greer said anyone wanting to make a financial donation to the community center can do so on the website at www.alpinecommunitycenter.com or by calling the center at (619) 445- 7330.
“If anyone is in need, or knows anyone in need, please call and let us know. We don’t want anyone going hungry,” Greer said.