CHICAGO (CBS) — With such high coronavirus case counts, the most vulnerable age group – seniors – will carry the burden of the pandemic this Thanksgiving.

Many will be spending the holiday alone.

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On Tuesday night, CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar showed us why the gathering for seniors is more than just the feast.

This year is going to be different for Lois Kaufman.

“Yes, I’m going to be here by myself,” she said.

Kaufman normally hosts her family for Thanksgiving, but not this year.

“I used to have over 20 people every Thanksgiving,” she said. “It will be an empty table. And I’m fine. It’s what we have to do now, or at least my family feels that way.”

Meanwhile, the final preps are on – turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and all the fixings – as the local nonprofit Fight2Feed makes 1,800 meals from food recovered from restaurants and donations.

“The most important thing of our mission is getting a hot meal,” said Marc Wuenschel of Fight2Feed.

About 520 of the meals will go to seniors – members of Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly.

“Most of the seniors in our program were not expecting anything,” said Susie Strange of that organization.

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In years past, the organization held Thanksgiving parties in person.

“I hate being alone,” said Louise Priko, who attended such a party in 2018.

CBS 2 was there for that 2018 Thanksgiving party, which was set up as a way to reduce loneliness and isolation at the holiday.

“You’re with people,” Priko said at the 2018 event.

But that holiday comfort is no more. The party canceled, and the pandemic has sent the celebration on the road.

“I do believe that a lot of the seniors in our program had sort of made their peace, sadly, but still made their peace with the idea of not really having anything this holiday season,” Strange said.

But the seniors will get that holiday meal. Volunteers are planning to drop them off door-to-door.

“People are feeling very loved and cared for that we made this work,” Strange said.

Along with those 500-plus meals, bags will also be delivered to those seniors who have lost contact or don’t have family. But this year, even for those who do have family, they will be alone

“I wish everybody would be very careful and have a safe and virtual Thanksgiving,” Kaufman said.

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Charlie De Mar