Capuchin Soup Kitchen meeting the needs of metro Detroiters this Thanksgiving, despite COVID-19

Posted at 7:16 AM, Nov 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-26 09:34:17-05

(WXYZ) — This Thanksgiving, Capuchin Soup Kitchen continues to meet the needs of hungry metro Detroiters, offering freshly prepared Thanksgiving meals with a "to-go" option at the Connor Kitchen site.

"It’ll be kind of an experiment this year to see how many we can get in. We have to move people along, so we give them a limited time to eat. Everything is so different," said Brother Bob Malloy, pastoral director at Capuchin.

The Connor site is one of two locations where metro Detroiters can come for freshly-prepared meals Monday through Saturday. Once the pandemic hit, guests were able to pick-up "to-go" meals. Dine-in service just recently resumed, with limited capacity.

On Thursday, guests at the Connor Kitchen site were limited to 32 people in the dining room at any one time. Tables had Plexiglas dividers to promote social distancing and "to-go" meals were pre-packaged and distributed just outside the kitchen to avoid contact.

Capuchin has been feeding metro Detroiters for more than 90 years, and this year with the pandemic causing an even greater need for their services, they received a $100,000 boost from Comerica Bank, which helped fund holiday food drives.

"We can’t even do our normal fundraising the way we normally do," said Brother Malloy. “We’re very grateful to Comerica Bank for their help."

On Monday and Tuesday, families were able to pick up 30-pound pantry food boxes for Thanksgiving, and it's happening again just before Christmas on Dec. 16 and Dec. 17.

Detroit's seniors in need also received meals this Thanksgiving, delivered to their doors.

The Detroit Area Agency on Aging partnered with the Ford Fund for its 30th annual Meals on Wheels Holiday.

“Due to their generous donation of $45,000 we’re able to serve 5,000 older adults and individuals who live with a disability," said DAAA's Dianna Solomon. As with most community organizations or non-profits, COVID-19 has had a major impact on daily operations.

“We have pivoted by not using volunteers this year. We’re using a whole caravan of Ford shuttles," Solomon told Action News.

In the spring, Capuchin had to suspend its volunteer program as COVID cases surged in metro Detroit, however volunteers were brought back this summer. Now sadly, Capuchin must again put volunteers on hold starting Friday.

The group has really focused on the holiday food drives this year, but in addition to that, they serve about 1,500 meals on any given day and also operate a shower program, emergency food program and tutoring program for kids.

“It’s just a good community spirit, and we want to keep that up," Brother Malloy said.

Click here to support Capuchin Soup Kitchen.

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