GLIDE's outreach team doles out Thanksgiving meals at SF homeless encampments

ByGloria Rodríguez, Tara Campbell, and Cornell Barnard via KGO logo
Thursday, November 24, 2022 3:30PM
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One bag after another, GLIDE's outreach team loaded the truck on Thanksgiving Day ready to delivery meals to some of San Francisco's most vulnerable.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- One bag after another, GLIDE's outreach team loaded the truck on Thanksgiving Day ready to delivery meals to some of San Francisco's most vulnerable.

"Part of my job at GLIDE is to bring the services that we have here downtown and take them to other parts of the city," said Felanie Castro, also known as Sister Anya. She is a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence - an order of queer and trans activists.

"We are always in service to our community, but I hope this makes a better connection with the people we serve and shows them we care and GLIDE really cares," said, Rizzy Spoer, GLIDE outreach worker.

"We have Thanksgiving meals," Felani shouted out at homeless encampment in Bayview. A man named Sam emerged from a trailer and greeted the team.

VIDEO: North Bay veterans collect food donations for communities in need this season

"It's a breakfast and a dinner and a breakfast and a dinner," said Felani. "Thank you, thank you. I appreciate that, said Sam. "It means a lot because you know sometimes we're just hungry and stuff and we have to think about how we'll get our next meal so it feels good to know someone cares, you know."

And just a few blocks away, another encampment and another delivery.

"It's good thank you," said Ginger Powell. "A lot of people outside - they're so sick off drugs they don't even think about food and they're probably starving to death, so to have people come and drop it off, at least you can get it."

Across the street, Christen Ericksen is searching for her daughter. She shows the team a photo.

MORE: Pre-Thanksgiving meal gives optimism amidst tough times in Oakland

"I've been checking every morning that I can because this is usually the time they get out of their tents and are rambling around. I get off work and I've been looking. This is the longest it's been," said Ericksen.

"She's usually under the bridge at 101 or San Bruno Avenue - that is her spot," she added.

"Oh, wait a second, I know who you're talking about," said Felani, telling Ericksen they would make a stop to look for her daughter.

"Thank you," said Ericksen, with a deep sigh of relief, offering a glimmer of hope on this day of Thanksgiving.

VIDEO: GLIDE holds annual Thanksgiving meal celebration in San Francisco's Tenderloin

GLIDE's annual Thanksgiving celebration helped those who can't put food on the table this holiday.

They held a free breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and hosted the Thanksgiving meal at 11 a.m.

ABC7 caught up with the GLIDE crew Wednesday as they packed pies, sliced bread and got the turkey and all the fixings ready.

They're expecting to serve more than 2,000 meals in the heart of San Francisco's Tenderloin District.

GLIDE'S Chief Finance and Operating Officer tells ABC7 News they go the extra mile to make the day special for those they serve.

"I think a lot of people struggle during the holidays.. but for the people that we serve, I mean they are facing the challenges of extreme poverty, homelessness, mental health and drug use disorders... the economy, we have people coming to us now that we may not have seen in the past because of what's going on with the economy, with inflation, you know...the different changes there," said Jean Cooper.

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live