Easter meal in downtown Phoenix still served for thousands without a home

It’s just different this year, but that doesn’t mean the meal is any less.

And although the masks cover the smiles, the greeting of happy Easter is just as cheerful.

Normally, we would be feeding a thousand people inside our dining room," Steve Zabilski of St. Vincent de Paul said. "We would have hundreds of volunteers. The meal would be wonderful -- well it’s almost the same, we don’t have the hundreds of volunteers today.

That’s the one big change.

In downtown Phoenix at Saint Vincent de Paul, every Easter, thousands of those going through homelessness are given a great meal with tons of help.

Wildflower still provided the meals, but the volunteers are at home, according to executive director Steve Zabilski.

"We’ve changed a lot of things at, in fact, we’ve changed everything at Saint Vincent de Paul, but the one thing that was never an option was were feeding people every single day of the year," he said.

Standing six feet apart, everyone was served Sunday morning.

Those volunteers that can’t come? They helped in different ways -- every meal comes with a personalized greeting made from afar.

Easter cheer. No matter the pandemic.

"It’s about hope, it’s about new beginnings, it’s about faith, it’s about love -- that’s what Saint Vincent de Paul is about every day of the year, but never more so than this morning," Zabilski said.

Being without a home anytime is challenging, but during this time the stress is amplified.

Zabilski said today everyone could come back for seconds or thirds and eat until you're full on Easter Sunday.

"This is one of those moments for our guests they’ll never forget," he said.

In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

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