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Glide’s Christmas Eve House of Prime Rib Dinner still goes on, despite pandemic

George Gundry, Glide's director of daily free meals. | Photo via Facebook
By Joe Kukura - Published on December 24, 2020.

There is little to celebrate when long lines at food banks all over the country make this one of the most depressing, heartbreaking holiday seasons in memory. But one San Francisco holiday free meal program is a cause for celebration, because the 28-year-old Christmas Eve custom was in danger of not happening in 2020. People are beefing up for the holiday in the Tenderloin today, as SFGate reports the Glide Christmas Eve dinner provided by House of Prime Rib is on for 2020.

The beef-carving local legend House of Prime Rib had been closed for much of the pandemic, which left the Christmas Eve tradition in doubt. But the Van Ness Avenue institution did reopen in October when indoor diving was still allowed, and when that privilege was revoked, switched to a take-out only model in November. With the kitchens open again, the annual 2,000 pounds of prime rib could be cooked up and shipped to Glide.

The Christmas Eve meal service at Glide started at 12 Noon today, and continues into the afternoon. Obviously, things are different — the meals will be served take-out style, as there is no dining allowed at Glide’s cafeteria. Glide’s volunteer program is discontinued for safety reasons, so Glide staff have been deployed to carve the beef and serve the meals, handing them out curbside or from tents. But the quality of the Christmas Eve free meal for thousands of food-insecure people, perhaps the finest served for free, en masse, anywhere in the country, is still five-star cuisine.

“Where there is a will, there is a way,” Glide daily free meals program director George Gundry said via email. “And all of us at Glide care about our community too much to let a single neighbor go without the nourishment and care they need.”

As seen in SFGate photos of the Christmas Eve dinner, each plate comes with House of Prime Rib’s signature slab of beef, a roll, potatoes, salad, honey lemon broccoli, and an eclair. This is obviously one of the more gourmet meals served all year at Glide, but they do serve free meals every single, with an estimated 2,200 meals handed out daily.

It's also a great time to contribute to Glide, as an anonymous donor is currently doubling your donation through December 31! And if you’re looking for a Christmas Day service, Glide’s virtual Christmas Day Celebration starts streaming at 10 a.m., December 25, on their Facebook page and Youtube channel and will be available on demand afterward.

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