OTTAWA -- It was another pandemic Thanksgiving at The Ottawa Mission today, the second straight year the annual turkey dinner was served up through take-out.

Resident Eli Tenn is grateful not only today, but every day for The Ottawa Mission. 

"Hi everybody. Happy Thanksgiving," says Tenn. "The Mission is providing us with four meals a day, clothing, accommodation. Due to the fact of COVID, and the harsh time that we go though, and they still maintain to give us top-notch service."

That community commitment anchored by the volunteers who were handing out the much-needed food.

Despite the pandemic changing the plan once again, Ottawa Mission CEO Peter Tilley says it is still an important day for many.

"It’s better when the sense of community comes inside and people from around this neighbourhood, people who are guests at The Ottawa Mission all congregate and gather," says Tilley. "They’re served by volunteers. It’s a very, very special feeling when that happens. That sense of company, that sense of belonging. We can’t do that. Unfortunately, the Delta variant, COVID continues. So we’re going to do the best we can and provide a meal that people can pick up and take home."

Ottawa Mission Executive Chef Ric Watson and his team have not only been working tirelessly to prepare for this day, but have already handed out thousands of Thanksgiving meals over the past week with their food truck.

"This is a very important day, because we want to make sure everyone in Ottawa is able to have a Thanksgiving dinner if they want to. Turkey, stuffing, giblet, gravy, mashed potatoes, and glazed carrots," says Watson.

"With the food truck we’ve served 4,003 meals, and today we’ll probably serve over 2,000. So we’re about 6,000 meals. It’s been a big undertaking; it’s taken a lot of volunteers and a lot of help from the community.”

"As you can see with the long lineup, the need is great,” says Coun. Mathieu Fleury. "And obviously Chef Ric and the entire team have done tremendous. Not only here, but the food truck and now the new location at the former Rideau Bakery on Rideau Street.”

In total, the Ottawa Mission was able to provide 6,189 meals, setting a new record for Thanksgiving and once again helping those in need feel like part of a community.