© 2023 KLCC

136 W 8th Ave
Eugene OR 97401

Contact Us

FCC Applications
Oregon's Willamette Valley seen from Eugene
NPR for Oregonians
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

COVID-19 Changes Eugene Mission's Holiday Offerings

Brian Bull

In past years, the Eugene Mission has done a blow-out Thanksgiving feast for people who are low-income or homeless. But  the pandemic has changed those plans.

Typically dozens of volunteers work through the week towards providing a traditional turkey dinner with all the fixings for 500 to 600 visitors. However…

“COVID restrictions, especially as the recent freeze came into place, we had to call off all of our volunteers.” 

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Marshall Eck, at the Eugene Mission kitchen area.

Marshall Eck of the Eugene Mission says this year’s Thanksgiving dinner – and possibly the one for Christmas – will be a scaled down affair, with about 200 people already on the staff, or enrolled in mission programs.

“It breaks our heart because we loved inviting anybody who could possibly benefit from a Thanksgiving meal that day," Eck told KLCC.

"But with this year, the restrictions just kinda tied our hands and so we’re going to make the best of it. And just hope and pray that other folks have a way to have a special day as well.” 

Eck says everyone’s hoping to return to the big holiday meal events in 2021, depending on the pandemic.

To date (11/20), the Eugene Mission has remained free of any COVID-19 cases among its staff and program participants.

Eck told KLCC that he feels very fortunate and blessed that no positive cases have emerged at the facility in the roughly 8 months that the pandemic’s spread across the region.

"Protected by God above, and our procedures," said Eck.  "Just really doing our darndest to keep the mission safe at all turns.  We hand out masks at any entry point.  We temperature screen daily.  All visitors are logged and temperatures screened.

Eck added that they've a new access method, so first-time visitors coming through the mission's rescue center will be quarantined for 14 days. 

Copyright 2020.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
Related Content