Looks like the weekend is going to stay rainy and cold, but here’s an Afternoon Report to warm your heart a bit.
Though the holiday is still almost a week away, food providers around the Mission are already preparing to provide traditional, and substantial, meals for Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving aliments become available as early as this Saturday. At 10:30 a.m., the Jewish Home of San Francisco, in partnership with the Mission bay Community Church and the Excelsior Community Food Pantry, will provide holiday groceries to low-income residents of the Excelsior. The distribution goes hand in hand with a celebration of the new partnership, marked by speakers from all three organizations as well as Assembly member-elect David Chiu and Supervisor John Avalos.
Closer to home, at Arriba Juntos, a food pantry attracts long lines every Thursday morning. Next week, supplies from the SF-Marin Food Bank will arrive early and be handed out Wednesday morning, allowing the pantry to close on Thanksgiving. Though Program Coordinator Marylin Bunag said the center itself doesn’t have plans to serve any special holiday items, Arriba Juntos (along with the Jewish Home) receives items from the SF-Marin Food Bank, which may have some treats in store: According to the Food Bank’s Blair Johnson, items around Thanksgiving include the usual fruits, vegetables, and grains as well as whole chicken, gravy, sweet potatoes, rice, cranberry sauce, rolls, and a dessert.
“We tailor our distribution around Thanksgiving to give folks a more traditional holiday distribution,” Johnson said.
Several pantries are already preparing for winter toy drives, including Arriba Juntos and the Salvation Army’s Mission Corps, which will not be open for Thanksgiving, though they have been providing Thanksgiving lunches for seniors this week.
On Thanksgiving Day itself, Amanda Ngo of Duc Loi Supermarket will serve her sixth annual Thanksgiving feast. Every year Ngo and an assortment of volunteers spend days preparing turkey, yams, green beans, mustard greens and apple pie. Served to anyone who waits in line, the feast attracted 650 people last year, and Ngo says she is preparing for 700 this year, an undertaking that costs the store between $4,000 and $5,000 every year. Ngo doesn’t take donations — the Thanksgiving cornucopia is a point of pride.
Several food providers do, however, need for volunteers. Ngo welcomed anyone with a few hours to spare over the weekend to help with the turkey, and on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, to make apple pie, as well as Wednesday to prepare mustard greens and yams.
The Thanksgiving food pantry at Arriba Juntos is more or less staffed, but Bunag said the center is always looking for volunteers and even during high-volunteer times people are sometimes unreliable. Arriba Juntos particularly needs those willing to be available from 6 a.m. to 11:30 and volunteers who speak Cantonese and Mandarin.
Johnson said the Food Bank attracts volunteers throughout the holiday season but asked those who wish to help to remember the Food Bank not just in November and December, but throughout the year.
This has been your Afternoon Report—a new series we’re trying out in which we offer a quickie post-meridian rundown of some minor developments in the always-happening streets of the Mission District. If you know of any Thanksgiving pantries we haven’t included, or that need extra help, let us know and we’ll add them! Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.