Continuing its decades-long tradition of serving free holiday feasts, volunteers dished out over 600 free Christmas morning meals at Glide Memorial Church yesterday — many of those meals enjoyed underneath tents set up along Ellis Street.
Food scarcity has skyrocketed since the pandemic. Increased rates of Bay Area hunger have led to a record-breaking number of requests for food donations from local food banks like the SF Marin Food Bank. And as COVID-19 continues to surge — the Omicron variant now accounting for over 78% of new coronavirus infections in San Francisco — the plights faced by the most vulnerable among us will only worsen, made no better by the increased rainfall and chilly temperatures that have descended on the region this month.
Holidays at GLIDE are truly special. It's a time of celebration, radical inclusion, and joy. Today GLIDE wrapped up a full season of special holiday events with a Christmas Celebration and feast.— GLIDE (@GLIDEsf) December 25, 2021
But the warm Christmas morning meals that were served up at Glide yesterday offered much-needed respite amid what's proven to be yet another tumultuous year spent oscillating between surges of the coronavius.
“The pandemic has hit us all hard but it has certainly hit our community the worst,” said George Gundry, director of the daily free-meals program at GLIDE Foundation, to KPIX. “This is always a special day for them. The holidays, in general, are special here at Glide but Christmas and Christmas Eve are truly special days for the community.”
According to the news outlet, some 600 meals were served on Christmas day. The House of Prime Rib contributed pounds and pounds of prime rib the day prior for Glide's Christmas Eve lunch; the restaurant has donated its red meat to GLIDE's Christmas Eve lunch for over 28 years.
GLIDE is so grateful for Joe Betz and The House of Prime Rib for generously providing thousands of pounds of prime rib for our Christmas Eve Brunch.— GLIDE (@GLIDEsf) December 24, 2021
This year’s holiday season meal donations were the first served since the passing of co-founder Janice Mirikitani, who died in July. Mirikitani founded the organization and Glide Memorial Church along with her husband, the Reveron. Cecil Williams, in the 1960s.
During the IRL service prior to the feast, the minister urged those attending either online or in-person to “think about what the radical meaning of Christmas is to you." Here's hoping that revolutionary connotation of the holiday now includes receiving a full COVID-19 vaccine series.
To learn more about the GLIDE Foundation's daily free-meal program — including how to both donate to the initiative and volunteer for future dates — visit glide.org/program/daily-free-meals.
Related: Glide Is Serving Thanksgiving Meals and COVID-19 Vaccines for 2021
Photo: Getty Images/Justin Sullivan