WASHINGTON (WDVM) — The coronavirus pandemic won’t stop the annual Feast of Sharing event in the Greater D.C. area.

“Feast of Sharing was a very large in-person gathering and celebration,” said Beth Goldberg, Senior Manager of Community and Public Affairs at Safeway. “About 5,000 guests would gather each year, served by 1,000 volunteers.” 

The Feast of Sharing, hosted by Safeway and Events D.C., usually had live music and local celebrities at their annual celebrations. However, the twenty-year-old traditional event had to adapt this year, due to COVID-19 restrictions and safety precautions. 

“We’re packing a bag filled with, what I say, is love,” said Zulema Tijero, a volunteer. “It has hats, gloves, the essentials you need every day for the cold, and hand sanitizer and of course the most important thing, masks.”  

Instead of an in-person celebration, a total of 5,000 Thanksgiving meals and gift bags filled with clothing will be donated to 20 non-profits in the D.C. area.

Staff say they will miss the joy of in-person communication that COVID-19 took away. 

“The feeling is going to be different in terms of not having the big crowds and welcoming them with open arms, like we have been in previous years,” said Elda Devarie, a volunteer.

As they stuff bags, volunteers say that they are counting their blessings this year.

“We have to remember all of the families who are out there at this moment who do not have a job, that do not have the opportunity that we have,” said Devarie. 

“It’s so rewarding for me to have an opportunity to come and help our fellow people who really need help especially in communities that are underprivileged,” said Tijero.

The meals and gift bags will be distributed on Nov. 24th.