LAWRENCE — Columbia Gas will provide 20,000 hot Thanksgiving meals to those residents still displaced by the Sept. 13 gas disaster, said Mayor Daniel Rivera.
In anticipation of the thousands of people likely to still be without gas by Nov. 22, Rivera said the city, governor's office and gas company have been coordinating several Thanksgiving meals at the trailer parks and at a hall in Lawrence in addition to several takeout locations for families who would rather celebrate on their own.
Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday that about 2,200 families, or about 7,500 people, are currently in temporary housing.
"The worst place to be on Thanksgiving is not in your house and to not be able to cook your own turkey," Rivera said. "People will not go without a warm Thanksgiving meal. We're going to make sure of that."
Rivera said most of the food will be prepared by Salem, New Hampshire, entrepreneur Joseph Faro's Tuscan Kitchen restaurant. Hot meals will be served at each trailer park location and one large hall in Lawrence, potentially the Elks Lodge, and several locations will provide takeout meals the evening before and morning of the holiday, Rivera said.
"It's normalcy, right? It's what New England Thanksgiving's about — make sure you're around family and it's warm and good," the mayor said. "We want to make sure people have that sense, as best they can, given the situation, given the circumstances."