By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS) — The surge of the Omicron variant and rising COVID-19 cases in Illinois have interrupted holiday plans for so many people, but it did not stop charities and churches from giving back to those less fortunate.

Another spike in COVID cases has changed the ways charities would give back to the homeless.

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Sixty volunteers and church members, masked and gloved up, loaded up meals and toys Christmas morning in the basement of St. Sabina Church. One of those volunteers was Natasha McClenden, who lost her brother and father to COVID-19 and tested positive for COVID herself.

“I just want people to know that COVID is no joke,” she said. “It is no joke. It almost took me out, but I’m here today to help the homeless people.”

Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina said despite numbers rising, they still have to feed people.

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“So many people are hurting, so many people are hungry, so many people are sheltered, so many people are depressed, and feel abandoned and forgotten and alone. And we’ve got to let them know that somebody sees them and that we care about them,” he said.

Father Pfleger said they hired six black caterers to feed nearly 1,000 people Christmas Day. One of those businesses is Nicole Jordan Catering, which delivered 200 meals.

“There are a lot of great caters in the city, a lot of great African American caters, us being one of them. It’s a great opportunity to showcase and support,” said owner Nicole Jordan-Reed.

The hot meals and toys went to 13 shelters, including Olive Branch Mission. And the Christmas dinner brought joy to a lot of people.

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Even though COVID cases have increased and changed many Christmas plans, it did not put a damper on the holidya spirit for church members, volunteers and the less fortunute.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff