A client of GLIDE eats while a volunteer carries empty food containers to be thrown away meal on Nov.26, 2020 in San Francisco. (James Wyatt / Golden Gate Xpress) (James Wyatt)
A client of GLIDE eats while a volunteer carries empty food containers to be thrown away meal on Nov.26, 2020 in San Francisco. (James Wyatt / Golden Gate Xpress)

James Wyatt

A GLIDE Thanksgiving

GLIDE Church serves yearly dinner following COVID-19 safety protocol

December 9, 2020

The Glide Memorial United Methodist Church, commonly referred to as GLIDE, opened in San Francisco in 1930. Each Thanksgiving Day, GLIDE provides a turkey dinner to those experiencing homelessness in the city. But because of COVID-19 restrictions, the situation and distribution has changed.

On Thanksgiving, GLIDE served approximately 5,000 of San Franciscans. Located in the Tenderloin, their goal this year was to serve meals to thousands of people in need. 

One of the familiar key figures of this event is George Gundry, director of GLIDE’s Daily Free Meal Program. Gundry noted that some of the more drastic changes for this year’s distribution includes the location being outdoors, staff wearing masks and gloves, the general practice of physical distancing, and only one person being allowed to eat at a table at a time.

Todd Schempp is an army veteran who has been homeless for 10 years. After moving to San Francisco three years ago, he said the GLIDE event continually offers him something to look forward to during the holiday season.

”I think it’s remarkable that they do things for people like this to help them out. It’s great. It helps make people get a little bit soul, it gives them their  mindset back a little bit, especially if you’re a lot of people that are on drugs, and they’re very depressed. This helps them that makes them feel better because it’s good, wholesome food that they serve, and it makes people feel like it’s a traditional meal being served just like they were a kid,” Schempp said.

Kaye Foster, chair of the Board of Trustees of the GLIDE Foundation, along with Noni Allwood worked as volunteers for this GLIDE Memorial Church thanksgiving event. Foster and Allwood said that this experience made them feel great.

“It does something to you. It’s not just the church and the music. But it’s the 28 programs that we run people normally enter glides through the food program. So they normally enter through the Meals Program. But then because we provide integrative services, you know, if you are dealing with substance abuse, food insecurity, homelessness, we provide services for families and children, violence against women violence against women, we have a program with the San Francisco Police Department, call an officer and a match, which is really teaching about harm reduction,” Foster said.

Hassan Sekou Allen is a homeless person who also attended the dinner. Allen expressed his gratitude to GLIDE and said, “This is the best meal I had all year.”

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