A Thanksgiving Potluck Project

Okay, help me think this through. For Thanksgiving, I’ve figured out some of what we’re doing — a porch drop-off + Zoom potluck with some local friends, a family Zoom call later in the day. Both good.

But I’m still feeling sad about all the folks who aren’t able to afford to celebrate right now, who are just planning to skip doing anything, even though they’d really like a little festive food. (If you’re tired and just want to skip the holiday entirely, I totally support you in that. That is completely valid.)

Kevin and I contribute to Beyond Hunger, which is our local food pantry, and we have a little free pantry next to our garage. So in terms of making sure people are generally fed, that aspect is being worked on.

But I was trying to figure out if it would be feasible to set up some sort of Google Form community thing for Thanksgiving, where people could request a meal if they’re in need (either because of finances, or maybe because they’re too harried and exhausted to cook — I know some healthcare workers in that situation right now), and other people could glance at the spreadsheet, and then sign up to provide one.

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For example:

a) Jane is a healthcare worker on-shift the day before Thanksgiving, with a husband and two young kids, with no time to prep or cook. They’d love a Thanksgiving meal, and note that no one in the family likes brussels sprouts. The kids particularly love mashed potatoes.

And then someone says, “Oh, I’m making mashed potatoes and turkey already, I can totally make a bit more and arrange a porch hand-off with Jane’s family.” And they check the box, and then a volunteer puts them in e-mail contact to arrange details further.

or

b) Steve has a family of 5, plus 2 in-laws sheltering-in-place with them, and has been laid off for 4 months now. Money has gotten really tight, and while they have time to cook, they can’t justify the extra grocery cost. $50 would cover groceries for the holiday meal.

And then someone who isn’t cooking but would like to buy a family a meal can sign up to send that amount over via PayPal.

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This is the sort of thing that Oak Park Mutual Aid does, but I’m hesitant to ask them to take on more forms and record keeping and organizational work — they’re already very busy helping people with regular grocery deliveries.

I’ve never actually made a Google Form (I’m sure it’s not hard, but somehow unfamiliarity has been stopping me), and I’m a little worried about having the time in the next few days to administer it. But maybe I could find a few volunteers to help?

Thoughts? It’s a little extra project, and I know, I have enough projects, but this one is time-limited, see? It can’t extend beyond Thursday. And if we can put it together, it’d make me feel better about this holiday.

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