While some experienced Thanksgiving without loved ones for the first time, others used Zoom for family gatherings on Thursday. Some spent the holiday alone.
Heartbreaking images showed Vivian Zayas and her family sitting around a dining table during prayer with an empty place setting for her mother, Ana Martinez, who died earlier this year at 78.
Martinez died from COVID-19 on April 1 while she was recovering at a nursing home from a knee replacement. The family held their traditional meal of turkey, yams, green beans and rice and beans – but Zayas removed a seat from the table at her home in Deer Park, New York, and put her mother’s walker in its place.
‘It’s a painful Thanksgiving. You don´t even know, should you celebrate?’ asked Zayas. ‘It’s a lonely time.’ The family is left with ‘an empty chair at the table forever,’ another daughter, Alexa Rivera, said Thursday.
Meanwhile, several volunteers spent the day giving out food and meals to families in need.
Detroit, Michigan: Janis and Uri Segal celebrate Thanksgiving with a virtual zoom with their family before a small dinner together, as they try to prevent the spread of coronavirus
Olathe, Kansas: Jessica and John Franz have Thanksgiving dinner with their daughters, Amelia (left), 11, Molly (back), 8, and Quinn (front), 2. The family held a quiet scaled-back Thanksgiving with just the household due to concerns about the coronavirus
Los Angeles, California: Alexis Small and her newborn baby Aubrielle Kitchen meet with her brother Brandon over a Zoom Conference call on Thanksgiving
Valrico, Florida: Jennifer Collis and her youngest son Timmy talk with family members in Delaware and Ohio on a Zoom call on Thanksgiving Day
Valrico, Florida: Steve Collis and his youngest son Timmy talk with family in Delaware and Ohio on a Zoom call on Thursday
Los Angeles, California: People dine while sitting at socially distanced tables during Thanksgiving
Los Angeles, California: Americans are seen wearing masks indoors while serving food during Thanksgiving
New York, New York: Families, couples, and friends dine outside at a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner
New York, New York: Outside dining was open for families, couple and friends to eat out on Thanksgiving
Los Angeles, California: People are seen dining out while sitting at socially-distanced tables on Thursday
New York, New York: Customers eat out on Thanksgiving day at Rosa Mexicano in Manhattan
New York, New York: A customer at Cafe Fiorello sits at an outdoor table covered in a plastic tent on Thursday
New York, New York: A couple dines out for Thanksgiving dinner in the Brooklyn borough of New York City
New York, New York: Customer’s dine outdoors in individual tents in the West Village on Thursday in New York City
New York, New York: People eat at The Smith’s outdoor seating on Thanksgiving in New York City
Los Angeles, California: People dine while sitting at socially-distanced tables during Thanksgiving
New York, New York: Couples dine out for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday in New York City amid the coronavirus pandemic
New York, New York: Families, couples, and friends dine out at a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner
New York, New York: A couple enjoys dinner on Thanksgiving evening in New York City
Yosemite Valley, California: Thanksgiving day visitors stand in line at a touch-less dinner buffet in Ahwahnee Dining Room in Yosemite Valley National Park on Thursday
Yosemite Valley, California: A server at touch-less dinner buffet in Ahwahnee Dining Room is seen dipping food for a customer on Thursday
Deer Park, New York: Like thousands of Americans, Alexa Rivera recently lost a loved one this year. Rivera is seen standing at the dining room table as the walker once belonging to her recently deceased mother Ana Martinez rests beside an empty place setting before Thanksgiving dinner
Deer Park, New York: Vivian Zayas holds onto the walker once belonging to her recently deceased mother Ana Martinez while her family prays before Thanksgiving dinner. Martinez died in April from COVID-19 at the age of 78
Deer Park, New York: The family is seen in prayer before they have Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday
Deer Park, New York: An empty place setting rests at the head of the dining room table for the family’s recently deceased relative
Bronx, New York: Nursing home residents hold signs as staff members walk by during a Thanksgiving celebration at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale on Thursday. The home also offered drive-up visits for families of residents struggling with celebrating the holiday alone
Bronx, New York: Family members wave goodbye to nursing home resident Barbara Farrior, 85, at the end of their visit at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale on Thanksgiving
Bronx, New York: Resident Barbara Farrior, 85, is seen as her family waves goodbye after driving by the Hebrew Home in Riverdale
Bronx, New York: Nursing home resident Jeannette Levy, 95, speaks with family members during a drive-by visit at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale in the Bronx during Thanksgiving Day
Columbus, Ohio: Volunteers at Rock City Church prepare meals and other items such as hand warmers and hand sanitizer to hand out to those in need during a Thanksgiving beneficiary event on Thursday
Columbus, Ohio: A volunteer is seen preparing meals for those in need on Thursday
Columbus, Ohio: Residents regarded as ‘food insecure’ accept boxed hot Thanksgiving meals and other items such as masks, hand warmers, and hand sanitizer during the event
Columbus, Ohio: Residents are seen enjoying boxed hot Thanksgiving meals during the beneficiary event on Thursday
Columbus, Ohio: Mashed potatoes, gravy and rolls are seen at the Rock City Church as volunteers prepare meals for those in need
Columbus, Ohio: Several residents are seen getting food and other items during the event on Thursday. Franklin County, where Columbus is located, is one of 4 counties in Ohio that are currently ‘purple’ the highest ranking color code on the scale measuring the number of Covid cases and risk of transmission
Columbus, Ohio: Volunteers hand out coffee out front of the Rock the City Church during a Thanksgiving beneficiary event to help those in need on Thursday