COVID-19 means Rose Romita’s Thanksgiving Community Dinner is takeout

The social aspect of this event has gone out the window

Rose Romita loves to cook up a storm.

The caterer and former Barrie city councillor has put on her Thanksgiving Community Dinner for over 20 years.

It’s not just seeing the smiles on the faces of those who get a hearty meal that makes Romita satisfied. She is well aware many of these people attend for the social aspect. It’s a chance to be around others to talk with and have fun.

The social component of the Thanksgiving Community Dinner will be missing on Monday because of COVID-19.

Romita says because people can’t be together in large numbers the meals will be served takeout style at 22 Dunlop Street West, beginning at 1 p.m.

“Normally I would do 600 to 700 meals. And that’s because the people stay all day and they have seconds, and they take leftovers with them. I am only doing 200 this time.”

In a normal year, Romita and her team of volunteers serve the Thanksgiving Community Dinner at a local church.

When pressed to go deeper as to why she continues this Thanksgiving tradition, Romita is hesitant to pat herself on the back, but confesses this is more than about a love of cooking.

“I enjoy it because I get to see the faces of the people that you know would never have a meal. When they come and thank you, telling you they would not have had anything to eat today, or they would have been sitting at home alone doing nothing.”

Romita encourages everyone who is coming to get a meal to make sure they are following physical distancing rules and wearing a mask.

Banner photo: Rose Romita-Facebook (from a previous Thanksgiving Community Dinner)