Dorothy Day prepares for Thanksgiving unlike any other while saying goodbye to retiring CEO

Volunteers come back to Dorothy Day Place year after year to help prepare Thanksgiving dinner, but this year is different due to COVID-19 concerns and increased demand.

Thanksgiving will look different this year with COVID-19 concerns, and the need to help others is that much more profound.

Volunteers at Dorothy Day Place are getting ready to serve meals tomorrow as they do every year. Wednesday, they were wrapping up preparations.

Thursday’s meal will be served at Catholic Charities thanks to the same group of volunteers that come back year after year.

“The turkeys and the camaraderie,” said Jim Erdman, a volunteer. “This is kind of the legion of the carcass right here.”

What’s different in the pandemic are the masks and the distancing. They are missing a few regulars, too, due to the quarantines.

Thursday, fewer people will be able to eat at once. A lot of meals will be delivered to rooms, but still make Thanksgiving happen.

This is the last Thanksgiving with Tim Marx at the helm, as Marx is retiring as CEO of Catholic Charities at the end of the year. He is proud that they built the $100 million Dorothy Day Campus on his watch and he has tons of gratitude to the people who made it happen.

As much as Catholic Charities has done becoming a model for solutions to homelessness, the problem is far from solved.

“I think what the community really needs to think about and think about deeply is why have people ended up there,” Marx said.

So, as they prepare yet another Thanksgiving meal for hundreds in need, the food helps, but a focus on families is needed. A better start for kids could prevent them from coming back as adults.

“As proud as I am, and we should be of what we’ve done here at Dorothy Day Place, I hope we don’t have to do it again,” Marx said.