SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – 1,300 hot steak dinners were made and delivered to unsheltered residents all over the Salt Lake Valley Christmas night.
“This year looks a lot different than we normally do than previous years just because of COVID,” says volunteer Katie Price.
Preparation was key in making the 2020 Steak Dinner on Christmas Day at St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall a success. This year marks the 18th year volunteers could do it.
Community Advocate Pamela Atkinson tells us, “I feel they deserve something and something special, and they see this dinner as special.”
Atkinson says the pandemic made this Christmas dinner a logistical nightmare.
“Plus, what else is different this year, we not only have the three resource centers, but we have certain motels and hotels we have our homeless friends staying at,” she adds.
It didn’t stop Atkinson and her team of volunteers, including the Catholic Community Services, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and Grand America Hotel from overcoming the obstacles and preparing a warm meal for unsheltered residents.
“There will be a steak, a baked potato, a salad in the cold boxes, and all the trimmings that go with a good dinner,” she says.
Price adds, “It is important to take this risk to be out here and I think that’s obviously what she is doing. She knows that a warm meal is, it still has to happen. We still have to serve people even though there is a risk.”
Atkinson says the unsheltered population health-wise is doing well while battling COVID-19.
“They are very good at wearing masks. They are very good at social distancing,” says Atkinson. “In fact, our numbers amongst the homeless population are somewhat lower than the general population.”
In addition to the 1,300 warm meals, each person got a blanket, coat, hygiene kit, socks, and underwear.