‘It’s vital:’ Middletown Community Thanksgiving pressing forward with pandemic safeguards

COVID precautions change long-running Middletown Thanksgiving tradition

BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - A long-running Middletown Thanksgiving tradition is changing things up this year due to the pandemic.

For nine years, Jeri Lewis has invited the community to Breiel Church to anyone and everyone who has wanted to come.

Normally 500 people walk through the doors to enjoy the feast, which last year amounted to 20 turkeys, seven hams, 200 lbs. of potatoes and 30 pies.

But for 2020, Lewis and the other organizers are opting for delivery.

Everyone delivering the meals will be wearing masks and gloves, she says.

Lewis won’t be in the kitchen with the others cooking up a storm, either. This year, the seven of them are cooking all the dishes separately from home.

“Definitely a lot bummed,” Lewis said of her feelings on the back-up plan, “because the whole point of community thanksgiving is coming together as a community and breaking bread.”

This year Lewis says they will be cooking meals for around 300 people. That includes providing meals for the men’s and women’s shelters in Middletown.

Around 70 deliveries have been scheduled. Lewis is also providing folks with Thanksgiving meal kits to prepare at home for those who would normally come to the community meal.

“I’ve typed up, I don’t know how many times, instructions on how to make those turkeys for families who normally come to our community thanksgiving,” she said. “They’re making their Thanksgivings at home this year.”

Lewis and her husband, Scott, say this year it’s more important than ever to get the meals out the door.

“It’s vital,” Lewis said.

“We’re more disconnected than ever during this pandemic,” Scott added. “I think just by showing your neighbors some kindness, checking on them, giving them a meal goes a long way.”

If you would like more information about the Middletown Community Thanksgiving, you can call Lewis at 513.649.9699.

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