Continuing Family Holiday Traditions During the Pandemic

December 17, 2020

“I was waiting for the holidays to be with my entire family,” says Anabely, while standing in line with her two young daughters to pick up a grocery bag at the Cornerstone Church Pop-up pantry. “But now because of the virus, I won’t be able to do that.”

Like many families, Anabely, her husband, and her two daughters always reunite with their extended family during the holidays. But now because of COVID-19, they’ll have to celebrate on their own.

“Every year, we get together for the holidays and celebrate together with food,” she says. “I love making tamales and I also cook turkey. I just love cooking.”

Celebrating with Food

Food is a tradition that 2020 hasn’t taken from us. We can’t see each other in person, but we can enjoy the food we always cook around the holidays.

Like many, Mei Yu stays connected with her family via WeChat. Of course, like the rest of us, she’s sad she can’t see her loved ones in real life but isn’t letting that stop her from making the food she enjoys every year and keep it festive.

“We love having roast chicken during the holidays,” she says. “We usually season the chicken with salt, chicken powder, and soy sauce, and we cook it in the oven for 20 minutes.” “I also love making vegetable dishes, salads, and cakes to celebrate with my family. We also put eggs in the salads.”

Mei Yu never finds herself alone in the kitchen. Her husband, son, and daughter join her to make these dishes—all of which are family recipes. 

Although Mei Yu considers these dishes to be simple, her family enjoy them regardless. 

“I can’t celebrate with my extended family this time, but I can still enjoy these dishes and celebrate with my own family.” 

Supporting Families this Holiday Season 

While families are finding ways to keep their traditions alive, many still struggle to afford food. That is why the Food Bank is working hard to meet the need and even include some extras like cooking oil during the holiday season to help families continue these traditions in a special way. 

“Getting food here helps us from having to purchase food I can’t afford,” says Mei Yu. “Food has gotten really expensive recently.” 

Anabely feels the same way. “We’re very thankful for the food. Our whole family is very thankful. God bless the Food Bank because what they’re is doing for people like my family that need food—it’s great and it’s really helpful for people that need it and love to cook.” 

Mayella’s Story | “It changed my life.”

December 20, 2016

Mayella is a Food Bank participant and pantry volunteer. This is her story.

“The first time I came home with a bag of Food Bank groceries, it was like a weight had been lifted. My husband and I could not find work, and it was by chance that a pantry volunteer overheard that we were going hungry. When she gave us food, it changed my life.

Today, I’m a volunteer at that same pantry because I want to give back to my community.

The holidays are extra special at the pantry: we put on music, and I bake cookies for everyone. I don’t have a lot of money, but I can bake, I can share, and I can give my time.

For my family’s holiday meal, my husband and I go fishing, and then I cook everything I get from the Food Bank. My kids go back to school and tell everyone they’ve had a holiday feast. They don’t know the stress it is to put food on the table. They’re just happy to have a big holiday meal. And that’s the way the holidays should be.

Thank you for helping make sure the Food Bank can give me and my family, and everyone who needs some help, a very special holiday.”