NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - On Thanksgiving Day, volunteers at the Peninsula Rescue Mission in Newport News came together to cook up an annual tradition.
While it looked a little different due to COVID-19, organizers kept the tradition alive to make sure many still had a happy Thanksgiving.
For Eric Starling, he’s called the rescue mission home for about two years.
“I'm thankful that I'm not where I was,” Starling said. “It gives me a sense of purpose.”
He helped serve up the meal for at least two dozen men.
“Generally, I've been trying to make sure that the place looks really good for them, and it feels home,” Starling said.
It’s a tradition volunteers said is important, especially in 2020.
“A lot of people are having trouble with hope, with the loss of jobs, with the loss of families and things of that sort,” volunteer Ray Snyder said. “We want to make sure that the men know that somebody cares for them.”
There were changes at this year’s dinner because of COVID-19, including more spacing between chairs for social distancing and more packaged foods being used for the dinner.
Overall, this Thursday was all about giving and gratitude.
“They need to feel that love,” Starling said. “They need to feel like this is a normal day for them, regardless of the COVID outbreak, and things like that. They need some kind of stability.”