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Volunteers distribute donated food to people during a contactless Thanksgiving dinner pickup event at Desert Breeze Community Center in Las Vegas on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent)

The holiday season, a normally joyous time filled with social get-togethers, has arrived.

How will it look? How will it feel? How will it affect already rising COVID-19 numbers?

Like it or not, we are about to find out, and this much we know is true:

Thanksgiving gatherings may be smaller as family and friends try to safeguard loved ones from an unpredictable virus. Food offerings may be limited as households experience economic uncertainty and pandemic-triggered job losses. And for thousands more this year, there may be an empty seat at the table because of a father, mother, aunt, uncle, son, daughter, friend or cousin who died — whether it be related to COVID-19, a separate illness or another tragedy.

So before the feasting and thanks-filled day arrived, volunteers and organizations across Southern Nevada tried to ease the silent burdens people may be carrying by providing meals to anyone in need. The vehicles lined up, and the volunteers donned face masks and other forms of personal protective equipment. The Nevada Independent photographer Daniel Clark captured some of the scenes in the lead-up to Thanksgiving Day.

A National Guardsman directs traffic at a food distribution event at Cashman Center in Las Vegas on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent)
Traffic congestion as seen at Cashman Center in Las Vegas, where COVID-19 testing and a food distribution event were being held on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent)
Volunteers from the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas distribute donated food during a contactless Thanksgiving dinner pickup event at Cashman Center in Las Vegas on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent)
Volunteers from the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas distribute donated food during a contactless Thanksgiving dinner pickup event at Cashman Center in Las Vegas on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent)
Volunteers from the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas distribute donated food during a contactless Thanksgiving dinner pickup event at Cashman Center in Las Vegas on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent)
Volunteers from the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas distribute donated food during a contactless Thanksgiving dinner pickup event at Cashman Center in Las Vegas on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent)
Volunteers from the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas distribute donated food during a contactless Thanksgiving dinner pickup event at Cashman Center in Las Vegas on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent)
Volunteers from the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas distribute donated food during a contactless Thanksgiving dinner pickup event at Cashman Center in Las Vegas on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent)
Volunteers from the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas distribute donated food during a contactless Thanksgiving dinner pickup event at Cashman Center in Las Vegas on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent)
Volunteers from the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas distribute donated food during a contactless Thanksgiving dinner pickup event at Cashman Center in Las Vegas on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent)
Volunteers from the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas distribute donated food during a contactless Thanksgiving dinner pickup event at Cashman Center in Las Vegas on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent)
Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones distributes donated food to people at a contactless Thanksgiving dinner pickup event at Desert Breeze Community Center in Las Vegas on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent)
Volunteers distribute donated food to people during a contactless Thanksgiving dinner pickup event at Desert Breeze Community Center in Las Vegas on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent)
Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones distributes donated food with Congresswoman Susie Lee at a contactless Thanksgiving dinner pickup event at Desert Breeze Community Center in Las Vegas on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent)
Head Chef Reolito Lao cuts plums for his special stuffing recipe inside the Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada kitchen in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent)
Gustavo Ramirez cuts turkey inside the Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada kitchen in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent)
Gustavo Ramirez cuts turkey inside the Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada kitchen in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent)
Pumpkin pies await packaging inside the Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada kitchen in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent)
Jennifer Bell cuts up pumpkin pies inside the Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada kitchen in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent)
Kandy Miller cuts up pumpkin pies inside the Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada kitchen in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent)
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