Last Friday Faribault Community Free Thanksgiving Dinner organizer Julie Fox told KDHL listeners the event was on without congregate dining this year.  No Fox says the committee that organizes the event has decided to pull the plug due to escalating cases of COVID-19 throughout the region.

Fox says, "It's with heavy hearts and it's for health and safety for our volunteers and those we serve.  It's a priority for us that people be safe and stay healthy."

"We definitely want to thank the volunteers and the donors who participate every year. 2021 we're looking forward to already."

Even snowstorms have not stopped this event.  In fact I could not go home one Thanksgiving many years ago due to a snowstorm which prompted me to indulge in a meal at the former McNamara's Restaurant.

I enjoyed the experience so much I started volunteering to peel potatoes the next year which I've done every year since.  I also started delivering meals when that service was started up.

I asked Fox what changed between last Friday and today.  One thing was the Governor's order for no more than 10 people to gather from 3 different households.

More than that is needed to get all the turkeys and the rest of the meal made and dished out.

Plus Fox said the cases are escalating as evidenced by the 56 deaths reported Wednesday for Tuesday numbers.  5 in Rice County.  Fox commented, "That's hard to swallow."

Fox added, "I just look it at as it's the healthy thing to do.  The school systems are doing distance learning.  City officials have said they're going to close some things to the public.  We're just at a high number of cases and Thanksgiving is two weeks from today so this year as many things aren't traditional we won't be able to have the event.  It's the right thing to do to keep everyone safe."