COVID-19 Changes Eugene Mission's Holiday Offerings

Nov 20, 2020

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.

In this 2017 photo, a volunteer shreds turkey for the Eugene Mission's annual Thanksgiving dinner. Because of the pandemic, it won't be offered to outside visitors this year.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

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.” 

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

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.