Throughout the Western Territory, The Salvation Army is reaching out to the needy and the lonely during the holiday season.

Thanksgiving meals are served in Hawaii.


Thanksgiving with The Salvation Army in Alaska is all about community. Many in “the Last Frontier” don’t have extended family nearby, which can make the holidays lonely. Serving or just enjoying a meal with others from the community helps provide that sense of belonging.

In Juneau, The Hanger, a favorite restaurant on the waterfront, has hosted the Army’s dinner for more than 15 years. No paper plates are used and the turkey is smoked, not roasted. Last year over 400 meals were served.

The Kenai Peninsula Corps is well supported in its Community Thanksgiving Feed. Eyeware Express and the Kenai Rotary purchase most of the food. At Cook Inlet Academy—a local private school—the dining room is set to welcome the dinner guests. On Thanksgiving morning the Soldotna Rotary Club arrives to cook the food, as dozens of volunteers from the community arrive in shifts to serve the meal. More than a hundred are expected this year due to the current economy.

In Anchorage, people start phoning in September to reserve their spots as volunteers. Thanksgiving morning begins early at The Salvation Army McKinnell House. While meals are packed for seniors, the kitchen crew packs the remaining food for Anchorage’s community dinner, where more than 300 guests will be welcomed to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving feast.

Jenni Ragland



The Idaho Falls Corps will be partnering with 13 other churches in the community to carry on a 20-year-old Thanksgiving tradition of feeding the poor and needy.

Food for the event comes from a joint effort by the community: some is bought and some is donated by businesses—the Texas Roadhouse never misses this chance to bring its dinner rolls—and volunteer chefs prepare it. Desserts are homemade by the 14 churches, which also supply the table settings. The Elks’ Club donates the venue for the event. As tradition dictates, the mayor of the town carves the first turkey. Last year more than 1,200 meals were served with an expected 1,400+ this year.

Majors Samuel and Carol are the corps officers.

Corps Officer Major Glenda Berko reports that due to lack of resources and funds, The Salvation Army Medford Corps will be the only organization in town—population 80,000—preparing Thanksgiving boxes for the homeless, poor and needy. Over 300 persons were served last year and this year they’re expecting over 1,000.

According to tradition, Thanksgiving lunch for almost 200 was served at The Salvation Army’s Rose Center for Seniors with all the normal fixings of a Thanksgiving dinner at home. For many of the seniors who are members of the Rose Center, this meal is a time for them to sit down surrounded by those whom they love and consider family and enjoy a home-cooked meal.


A sit-down dinner is planned at the Chico, Calif., corps. Last year they served over 300 individuals and distributed 100 meals to shut-ins.

In Sacramento 1,000 people will be served at the B Street Center of Hope Emergency Shelter in downtown Sacramento. The meal is open to the public as well as those staying at the shelter.

The Hayward and Red Bluff corps will be distributing their traditional Thanksgiving boxes.

Stefanie Vrapi

For more than 45 years, The Salvation Army has organized its annual Turkey Carving event as part of the preparation for meals to be delivered on Thanksgiving. Over 30 members of the San Francisco Fire and Police Departments will help carve more than 250 turkeys for Thanksgiving dinners, which will be delivered by Salvation Army volunteers to seniors and homebound people in San Francisco. The turkeys—donated by California State Automobile Association and Citi—will be cooked in the Harbor Light Center Kitchen.

The residents of San Francisco’s Railton Place are in for a surprise this Thanksgiving! Players from the San Francisco 49ers will provide a pre-Thanksgiving lunch with all the fixings on November 24.

Players and their families will serve food, welcome guests and visit with residents and staff. After lunch, some ‘Niners players will go to the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center Recreation Room for friendly games of foosball, air hockey, video games and other activities. This is an opportunity to raise awareness about Railton Place’s programs in San Francisco and provide residents and staff a unique, one-on-one experience with current 49ers players and their families.

Just in time for Thanksgiving, Chef Anthony Pardi of San Francisco’s Central Kitchen partnered with Chef John of FoodWishes (a free online video recipe blog) to share recipes that Chef Anthony uses for the annual San Francisco holiday meal distribution to seniors and shut-ins, while promoting The Salvation Army’s year-round meal program and kitchen facility.

The blog also discusses the increased need for both food and monetary donations this year, while sharing many “chef secrets” for a money-saving and healthy meal. The blog is available at (direct link:

Laine Hendricks

Since 1971, The Salvation Army Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Division will hold its 39th annual Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, November 26, at the Neal Blaisdell Center Exhibition Hall.

Local entertainer Frank DeLima will emcee a musical entertainment program featuring Henry Kapono, the Honolulu Boy Choir, Joe and Shirley Recca, Halau Hula o Namakahulali and The Salvation Army Island Brass Band.

The event is expected to draw as many as 2,000 individuals.

Tickets to the event are free and available at all Salvation Army community center locations on O‘ahu or through any social service agency. No one is turned away. Tickets will also be available at the door.

“Our Thanksgiving dinner this year is particularly more meaningful as we expect more families who have been affected by the massive layoffs in the recent months,” Divisional Commander Major Edward Hill said. “Many are struggling to meet their basic needs and we hope that our annual Thanksgiving dinner will add a glimmer of joy during these hard economic times.”

Salvation Army units on all islands will be serving Thanksgiving meals similar to the Blaisdell Center. Food will be delivered to the homes of the disabled, frail and elderly. Last year The Salvation Army served and delivered more than 7,000 meals and distributed hundreds of turkeys to families in need.

At the Blaisdell location, more than 800 helpers provide time, energy and resources. Companies large and small contribute food, cash, facilities and volunteers. Well-known entertainers, food brokers, bakeries, restaurants, florists, supermarkets and hotels donate. The City and County of Honolulu donates the use of the Neal Blaisdell Exhibition Hall.

For free tickets, contact: Honolulu, 521-6551 and 591-5605; Leeward, 487-1636; and Windward, 235-1408.

Daniel De Castro



In Metro Denver nearly 1,500 meals were served at the Colorado Convention Center to homeless people, families in need, and volunteers. King Soopers provided the food and Inverness & Hyatt Convention Center helped prepare the meals.

Approximately 5,000 meals were served throughout the Colorado Springs community to people in need at five different Salvation Army locations. Rides and deliveries were offered to those who needed them.

At the Fort Collins Corps, Pappy’s Corner Pub cooked turkey and all the fixings for 500. It was a community celebration, and everyone was invited, along with the homeless and poor. The Salvation Army offered transportation to those who needed a ride to the restaurant. Restaurant staff volunteered their time to prepare the meal, and about 40 additional volunteers from the community helped greet guests and serve meals.

The Grand Junction Corps served a total of 1,200 meals to the needy in the community; a church delivered 500 and the Elks’ Club served 700 at their facility.

The Bozeman Corps provided 225 dinners to shut-ins. Montana State University prepared the turkeys and advisory board members provided the “fixins.” The board members also took the dinners to shut-ins.

Salt Lake Basin helped deliver more than 250 meals with Meals-on-Wheels, served 500 meals to the homeless community and delivered to some shut-ins and gave 150 turkeys to families with their weekly food box program.

The Ogden Corps served meals from the Army Reserve Training Center who provided 200 delivered meals to shut-ins.

The Salvation Army in Colorado benefited when Brian Dawkins, Denver Broncos Pro Bowl Safety, teamed-up with King Soopers and Meadow Gold Dairies to provide $9,000 of complete store-prepared Thanksgiving dinners. In total, 250 families received complete dinners: Denver, 125; Colorado Springs, 25; Pueblo, 25; Grand Junction, 25; and Fort Collins/Greeley, 25.

Stephanie Gustafson


At the William Booth Center in Seattle, which serves as a transitional shelter for men—many of them vets—a Thanksgiving lunch will be served. Retired Seattle Seahawks Coach Mike Holmgren and his wife will be flying in JUST to serve at the event. His grandparents were TSA officers and he and his wife have always been involved with Army events.

The Spokane Citadel, Wash., will be handing out Thanksgiving turkeys to the tune of a turkey “every 5.2 seconds for 12 hours, totaling over 8,000 turkeys,” Capt. Kyle Smith said.


Elvis will be serving Thanksgiving dinner in El Centro! Captain Jerry Esqueda—who croons like the King and, in his Elvis suit, looks like him too—will serenade and serve the 1,200 people expected for dinner.

In east San Diego, local TV, radio and sports celebrities will gather a few days before Thanksgiving to wait on diners at Hooley’s restaurant to kick off the El Cajon Corps Thanksgiving and Christmas drive.

At Turkey Central, aka Central Kitchen, Chef Joe Olmos started ordering his turkeys in June to get the best rate and is even using coupons to buy 24 cartons of stuffing—“Doing the Most Good” with the donor’s money to help serve the 2,000 expected guests at San Diego’s largest holiday meal.

When the doors open at downtown’s Golden Hall on Thanksgiving morning, 400 volunteers will greet those who have stood in line for several hours and escort them to linen-draped tables to be served a traditional meal.

Salvation Army corps in Cathedral City, Chula Vista, El Centro, Escondido, Moreno Valley, Oceanside, Ontario, Redlands, Riverside, San Bernardino and Victor Valley will also serve a traditional sit-down Thanksgiving dinner.

All in all, the Sierra del Mar Division will provide Thanksgiving dinners to more than 7,000 people. If you count food boxes and meals throughout the week, the number jumps to more than 300,000.

Thanksgiving weekend marks the official Red Kettle kickoff at the Chargers/Broncos game with Divisional Commander Major Linda Markiewicz ,TV anchor Paul Bloom and Charger officials on the field with a giant Red Kettle.

The Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center at San Diego will host a “Show Your Stuff” ice-skating Thanksgiving food drive event. Skating will be free with a donation of two nonperishable food items.

Suzy Woodruff Lacey



In addition to their Adopt-A-Family programs, community food distributions, and kettle kick-off celebrations, The Salvation Army Southern California Division will ring in the holiday season in true “So Cal” style.

Taking advantage of the nearby Staples Center—home to every noteworthy sports and entertainment act in town—The Salvation Army and its partners will serve a hot Thanksgiving Eve dinner to 1,500 residents of Los Angeles’ Pico-Union district in an outdoor tent at the famed center.

The Staples Center and its fast-growing next-door neighbor, L.A. Live, are quickly becoming two of the most popular hot spots in L.A., as trendy shopping, dining and entertainment are constantly sprouting up. This special location will give The Salvation Army great visibility while it serves one of the largest Thanksgiving dinners this season.

On Thanksgiving Day, The Salvation Army’s Bell Shelter will enlist the help of the popular restaurant chain, The Cheesecake Factory, and its chefs for the eighth year to feed 650 homeless residents and their families. Bell Shelter remains one of the largest shelters in the area, and is—in fact—credited as being the biggest of its kind west of the Mississippi!

Nothing says sunny Southern California like an outdoor soccer tournament and 70-degree weather in November. The day after Thanksgiving, The Salvation Army Red Shield Youth and Community Center will host the 5th Annual Thanksgiving Soccer Tournament, bringing youth and adults together to participate in a friendly competition and healthy physical fitness.

Dawn Wright



In Las Vegas Citadel, Nev., the management and staff of Circus Circus have been a big part of The Salvation Army Thanksgiving meal for the homeless. For the past 20 years Circus Circus has visited The Salvation Army Lied Campus for the homeless on Thanksgiving Eve with about 60 volunteers.

Sue Markham, director of homeless services, has praised the work of Circus Circus over the years. “Circus Circus has been one of the best partners we have ever had when it comes to serving our clients. They do an amazing job,” she said.

Team leaders consist of Don Thrasher, general manager; Chef Bob O’Brien, food and beverage director; and Andy Enrico. O’Brien is a former Chef of the year for Las Vegas. Their cooking and serving have become a labor of love for Circus Circus. Major Robert Lloyd, Clark County Coordinator, was amazed at their involvement. “What a wonderful way to have a holiday and what wonderful people we are privileged to work with. Truly a blessing,” he said.

The Albuquerque, N Mex., corps will be holding its annual Thanksgiving meal this year. Because of their “out of the way” location, Corps Officer Major Donald Takeuchi said their facility serves more of the “overflow” crowds who can’t fit into the larger centers in the area. Regular attendees are people from the local community and the residents from their Adult Rehabilitation Program—usually totaling 150-200 people.

Funds for the event are generated throughout yearly “Meal Appeal” mailings sent out by Grizzard.

Sharing is caring!