COVID-19 tries to cancel Christmas dinner for the homeless in San Jose – however fails

With a COVID-19 positive case forcing CityTeam’s kitchen to quarantine and temporarily shut down, the San Jose nonprofit is working hard to make sure the annual Christmas festivities don’t turn sour.

“We usually feed the homeless every day,” said CityTeam spokeswoman Darlene Tenes. “But Christmas Day is a very special day because we invite them all over, do the NFL games and give them haircuts. They wash their feet, give them new shoes, socks and coats. “

CityTeam cares for hundreds of homeless people year-round in the kitchen of his men’s house on Charles Street, where the facility’s residents work to prepare the food. But a positive COVID-19 case closed the kitchen.

Tenes said most of the holiday celebrations had already been canceled due to COVID-19, but hot meals were the only item on the agenda that they wouldn’t miss.

“(Closing the kitchen) was an added blow to us after we canceled our annual plans to greet guests from the cold for a warm Christmas dinner and friendly company,” said Chef Reynolds Stewart, CityTeam’s food service manager .

After learning of a COVID-19 infection earlier this week, Tenes immediately said she wanted to call a friend in charge of marketing and logistics for a network of local food trucks.

“I called Ryan Sebastian of Moveable Feasts yesterday (December 22nd) and asked if he could mobilize very quickly to get the meals,” she said. “So everyone crawls very quickly because it’s like we didn’t honestly expect it.”

Sebastian, who founded the San Jose-based Moveable Feast now known as Moveable, said he had never attended a CityTeam Christmas Day dinner before but was excited when Tenes held out his hand.

She asked if we can help. ,We do not have much time. We have to prepare hundreds of meals – and I said sure let’s do it, ”said Sebastian.

Moveable immediately started working with local food trucks, completing meals, and raising funds for the meals.

Instead of the usual cost of $ 2, CityTeam costs to prepare a meal on Christmas Day. The price is now $ 12 as the workers are paid for their service as opposed to the men’s house residents who prepare the food as part of their internal duties.

CityTeam plans to prepare at least 300 meals in cooperation with the food trucks. To achieve this, CityTeam collects donations.

“The rainbow over it is what we can give to small businesses that are also having problems, these small business owners who are going to make money that day,” she said.

Sebastian said he is still determining who will serve and what kind of food will be provided to homeless residents.

“At first we didn’t know whether trucks would be available. We said, “Well, will you be home with your families to celebrate Christmas?” He said. “But we had a lot of people who wanted to attend and be part of this Christmas dinner.”

The food trucks will be dropped in front of the CityTeam facility and volunteers and workers will put food on tables to avoid direct contact.

Tenes said it was heartbreaking not to see residents in the kitchen this year, but those without a home won’t be the only ones separated from their families this holiday season.

“It’s the only time that some are in a warm, family environment and we usually have a lot of volunteers and Santa Claus comes over. And we did karaoke last year, ”she said. “Everyone takes it for granted when they are with their family. This year, however, it will be different for everyone. “

Contact Vicente Vera at [email protected] or follow him @vicentejvera on Twitter.

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