SF church gives out hundreds of Thanksgiving meals to many struggling with drug addiction

Tara Campbell Image
Friday, November 24, 2023
SF church gives out hundreds of Thanksgiving meals to those in need
GLIDE Memorial Church held its annual Thanksgiving meal and service, loading up 250 meals to some of San Francisco's hardest-to-reach.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- GLIDE Memorial Church in San Francisco held its annual Thanksgiving meal and service on Thursday and Mayor London Breed joined in.

The church gave out hundreds of warm Thanksgiving meals to some of San Francisco's hardest-to-reach, many of whom are struggling amidst the drug overdose crisis.

GLIDE's Harm Reduction team loaded up 250 Thanksgiving meals in total.

"It's just nice to be able to do this, as a Sister we're always looking at giving back to the community and doing what we can," said Felanie Castro, also known as Sister Anya Streets.

Sister Anya Streets, a member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, an order of queer and trans activists, is known as Felanie Castro at their day job at GLIDE.

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Who is working Thanksgiving?! Many people are working this holiday including first responders missing out on family time to help others.

Felanie and the team are on the streets often - handing out safe consumption supplies like clean syringes and drug testing strips, and connecting people to treatment.

But on Thanksgiving, it's all about making sure people get a meal.

TARA CAMPBELL: "What does it mean to get a meal like this today?"

LEWIS: "Oh, a lot, it means a lot, we don't get a lot of meals out here."

Lewis lives in an RV in the Bay View area.

"I came out here from Oklahoma and all that, and I don't know I just liked it here," he said.

He's also battling with addiction, but says he doesn't use fentanyl and has test strips for other drugs.

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Like other places in the Bay Area, many people in San Jose were not fortunate enough to spend Thanksgiving indoors.

Fentanyl, 50 times more potent than heroin, is feuling record high overdose deaths as San Francisco is on pace for its deadliest year yet amid the drug overdose crisis.

"I see too many friends die every day, every day on the streets," said Carlos, another man at the service.

Carlos says he's been in and out of recovery, but is happy people bring food for Thanksgiving.

Cards crafted by local elementary school students were also making people feel happy.

Marvin Lobos picked up a meal for his daughter and says he is grateful for the showing of kindness and tries to pay it forward.

"Well you know everyone needs help, that's what I try to do, and if you help that's great, thank you," said Lobos.

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