Thanksgiving Meals Delivered to Seniors Vacationing Alone in Marin County

SAN RAFEL, CA (KGO) – In San Rafael, volunteers lined up in their cars Thursday morning for warm Thanksgiving meals to deliver to those in need throughout Marin County.

The non-profit organization Vivalon, in partnership with Meals on Wheels, calls it Operation Thanksgiving. They made sure that anyone alone and in need of a Thursday meal would have one.

“People who get meals today are staying at home, and seniors don’t have the ability to shop for groceries themselves. They are alone on Thanksgiving Day,” Vivalon CEO Ann Gray told ABC7 News.

Gray said volunteers served more than 150 meals on Thursday.

“We have about 40 cars coming in, full of families, grandparents, grandchildren, husband and wives, son and father,” Gray said. “We’ve all had a mix of families to have this wonderful experience together.”

Related: GLIDE organizes an annual Thanksgiving brunch in San Francisco

After years of donating money to Meals on Wheels, Nancy Stevens decided to volunteer for the first time.

“This is the first year I thought, ‘Why not participate, participate rather than just send money,'” Stevens said. “So, I’m really excited… It’s going to be the highlight of my day.”

Jane Craft and her husband Chris also signed on to serve meals.

“We’re really grateful,” Kraft said. “We feel so privileged in life, so we want to give back. We’re happy to do so.”

Related: The full list of Bay Area organizations to donate this holiday season

Each meal included all the traditional Thanksgiving dishes – turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and dessert – plus a handmade “Happy Thanksgiving” card made by the local Girl Scouts.

“I hope they feel at home to them even if they are on their own,” Gray said.

ABC7 News followed volunteer Nicole Levento and partner David as they hand them over to Katie Herlevich, a 73-year-old woman who lives alone in Novato.

“It’s just, I can’t express the gratitude I feel for having Meals on Wheels,” Herlevich said. “Especially on a day when I would be alone.”

It was a reminder this Thanksgiving that a simple gesture can go a long way.

“It’s really about the health of our community, it’s about our social health, it’s about their nutritional health,” Levento said. “It’s really, what can you do to make someone’s day better, and someone’s week even better?”

For Herlevich, she said it really makes a difference.

“I’m really happy today,” she said. “Thank you.”

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