Waterfront Rescue Mission

Thanksgiving is going to look a lot different this year, with travel alerts and calls for fewer people at the dinner table. It also means that people who serve the homeless population in the region must also adapt to life with COVID.

Chad Davis/Flickr

Those who normally travel for the Thanksgiving holiday are being urged to stay home this year. That’s the word from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where Dr. Henry Walke is COVID-19 incident manager.

“As a country we are seeing increases in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths because of COVID-19,” Walke told a teleconference of media. “And we know that you are as alarmed as we are by the rapid spread of COVID-19 across American communities.”

Waterfront Mission

Waterfront Rescue Mission in Pensacola is marking 70 years of providing a Thanksgiving Day meal for the homeless and others who need a little holiday cheer.

“The community has been donating food [and] l dollars to help us serve what will be over 1,000 meals on Thanksgiving Day,” said Angie Ishee at Waterfront.

About 160 volunteers will also be on hand that day to serve, clean up, and perform other tasks as they serve up to 300 people. And through a partnership through the Council on Aging, the mission will send out more than 300 meals to those unable to leave their homes.

Robert Barrett / WUWF News

The Mayflower has landed in Pensacola. It is, in fact, a large Mayflower moving van parked at the Cordova Mall parking lot and it’s filling up with food.  “It’s actually the single largest food drive we do … over the course of a two day period, and it is really important for the hungry in our community,” said De De Flounlacker, the executive director of Manna Food Pantries.

“This restocks our shelves (and) gets us ready for the first part of the year when it’s ‘crickets’ in here sometimes sound-wise because there’s nothing going on. Nobody’s donating food generally in January.”

Jennie McKeon / WUWF

Thanksgiving at Harbor Docks is a 24-year tradition for people from all walks of life.

By 10 a.m., a line snakes around the parking lot of the Destin restaurant in anticipation of the 11 a.m. opening. And for the next eight hours, restaurant staff and volunteers serve a traditional Thanksgiving meal for free.

Photo via Flickr// Richard Masoner /

  Almost 47 million Americans are projected to travel 50 miles or more from home for Thanksgiving, according to AAA: they should have a few more bucks in their pockets for the holidays.

“Busy roads, busy airports as is usual during Thanksgiving, but about 300,000 more travelers than last year,” said Mark Jenkins at AAA-South in Tampa. That figure is up 0.6% from Thanksgiving 2014, and the most in eight years.

The travel period is defined as Wednesday, November 25 through Sunday, November 29. 

photo via Flickr//Tim Sackton

  Thanksgiving chefs and grillmasters are being reminded to follow some basic, but effective steps to avoid food-borne illnesses. Many of the tips are from the Florida Department of Agriculture.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year about 48 million Americans, roughly one in six, gets a food-borne illness. One hundred-28 thousand are hospitalized with about 3,000 deaths. The most common illnesses are caused by norovirus and the Salmonella bacteria.

Photo via Flickr//justmakeit

  There’s good news and bad news for Thanksgiving travelers. The good: gas prices are at five year lows. The bad: a lot more people will be driving.

More than 46 million Americans are projected to travel 50 miles or more from home for Thanksgiving. In Florida, 2.3 million people will hit the road, with the vast majority, 2.1 million, or 90%,  going by automobile. Mark Jenkins at AAA South, in Tampa, says that’s a 4.2% increase from last year’s 44 million travelers.

USO Northwest Florida

Northwest Florida’s United Service Organization is preparing for its annual Thanksgiving feast at its facility aboard NAS Pensacola. The calls are going out for the public to lend a hand.

If you’re active-duty personnel based in this area, chances are you’re fairly new to the military. And if that’s the case, you have to choose between going home for Thanksgiving or going home for Christmas – because of finances or duty assignment, you can’t do both. USO Director Heidi Blair says that’s where they come in.

Joshua Bousel

AAA projects more than 43 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this holiday weekend.

The auto club’s prediction is down one and a half percent from Thanksgiving 2012, which was the highest travel volume in five years. But Greg Jenkins at AAASouth, in Tampa, says if this year’s numbers pan out, they would be the second-highest.
Ninety percent of travelers – just under 39 million – will do so by automobile, including 2.2 million from Florida. Just over three million travelers will take to the skies.

NWF USO Gears Up For Thanksgiving

Nov 22, 2013

Northwest Florida’s United Service Organization is preparing for its annual Thanksgiving feast at its facility aboard NAS Pensacola.

Director Heidi Blair says the celebration will kick off Thanksgiving Day with a traditional holiday meal at the USO center aboard NAS Pensacola.

The holiday events are the latest chapters in the long history of the USO, which has 160 locations in 27 states and 14 countries. Its history dates back to the start of World War II, when it was created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Your holiday road trip will cost a bit less this year.  Anyone who has filled up a gas tank over the past couple of weeks has noticed that the price per gallon of gas has been going down slowly but surely.  And it looks like that trend will continue over the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday weekend, with prices at the pump about 25 cents less per gallon than last year.  Jessica Brady, a spokesperson for AAA says gas prices hit their high point for the year in the late spring and have been coming down ever since.  Brady says we're doing better this year than last.