Longtime Thanksgiving Meals on Wheels tradition canceled by pandemic

Josh Skluzacek/Joe Mazan
Updated: November 25, 2020 10:34 AM
Created: November 24, 2020 11:08 AM

A longtime Thanksgiving holiday tradition in St. Paul won't be happening this year.

Thanksgiving Meals on Wheels won't be able to operate this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event's organizers announced Tuesday.

In its 50th year, the founders said it's unrealistic to work with more than 2,000 volunteers, get food supplies, prepare meals and deliver them to those in need amid the pandemic, citing safety concerns.

The organization is encouraging past volunteers and anyone who can to assist a family they know is in need and serve them directly this year.

"It's not easy to say, 'Hey, do this and risk anybody,'" founder Bill Foussard said. "We can not let anybody get sick around this program."        

The event was started by Foussard and Barb Aslesen in 1970 when they were high school juniors. They prepared and delivered 24 meals to three families, and it has grown every year, serving almost 17,000 meals last year.

"I know we have to be safe but the people that are suffering and going without because of this, Bill and I have been two people that have cared," Aslesen said. 

Anyone seeking additional information can contact Foussard at 651-271-5985.

Organizers hope to bring the event back even bigger and better next year.

Metro Meals on Wheels will still be serving meals to their clients on Thanksgiving. 

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