Salvation Army serves up hot meals to thousands
Many give thanks at Tucson's annual Thanksgiving tradition
Thanksgiving turkey dinner
Reporter: Claire Doan
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – The Salvation Army served hot meals to thousands of people during its 27th Annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner Thursday at the St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church.
For many, the event brought together familiar faces, a nice way to celebrate the holiday and many reasons to be grateeful.
“We did this last year and met some very nice people and we just wanted to come back really bad. That’s mainly why we’re here. We have no family dinner, no family people to be with. This is great,” said Carol Schell, who was at the meal with her best friend.
“One thing I’m thankful for and have been for years it the work the Army does,” said D.L. Vanderlinden, Sr.
People who were served a traditional hot meal – turkey with all the trimmings – listened to holiday music by Kids Unlimited and received a take-out bag.
The Salvation Army also delivered meals to people who are homebound, serving more than 3,500 Thanksgiving dinners this year.
For many volunteers, the event gave them a chance to give back.
“These people here don’t have what we have and I think it’s time for us now, in this day and age, to give back to people who really need it,” said Salvation Army volunteer Tomas Baca.
“I volunteer here. I’ve been doing this for about two years,” said Emily Desiletes, a young volunteer. “It brightens my day and it helps me feel good.”
In addition to volunteers, the generosity of the Tucson community also made the dinner possible. Although Salvation Army organizers were worried about not having enough food, a flurry of last-minute donations allowed them to serve a full house.
“It really is a day of giving from the community. We have hundreds of volunteers that put this together, with businesses and performers who come in. Mayfield provides hundreds of flowers and it’s all really just to help people who are less fortunate,” said Tamara McElwee, the Salvation Army public director.