Thanksgiving Offered to God
Army Fills Stomachs, Warms Hearts
Homeless Food Distribution Efforts Reported
Long a hallmark of the Army’s caring service, Thanksgiving meals will be served to tens of thousands throughout the Western Territory as Salvationists seek to fill empty stomachs, warm hearts, and provide spiritual comfort to those in need.
In the Southwest Division, the Army is slated to hold the Sixth Annual Great Turkey Stuff on November 24 at the Phoenix Suns game. The competition features teams, composed of local sportscasters and celebrities, stuffing and “tastefully” decorating a turkey in five minutes. The finished birds will be judged by the audience at half-time.
Salvation Army musical groups will provide pre-game entertainment and the singing of the National Anthem.
The Army will also serve Thanksgiv-ing dinner to more than 3100 people at eight locations throughout the Valley of the Sun. Volunteers will deliver more than 800 meals to shut-ins in Phoenix.
Chefs from the Hyatt Regency Hotel are volunteering their services to cook the dinners.
For 26 years, the Army has provided Thanksgiving Dinner for the homeless, hungry, disadvantaged, elderly and forgotten of Oahu in the Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Division. This year, more than 1,800 hungry guests will gather at the Neal Blaisdell Center to share a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Planning is done by a core of more than 500 veteran volunteers, advisory board members and Salvation Army officers.
Through 1995, the Army has served more than 44,000 meals on Thanksgiv-ing Day to the people of Hawaii.
In the Intermountain Division, The Grand Junction Corps holds an annual Thanksgiving Day Dinner at the Western Sizzlin’ Restaurant. Last year, 544 individuals were served, and up to 600 are anticipated this year. In Greeley, Colo., the Army is counting on 110 volunteers to help serve 4- 500 dinners.
In Salt Lake City, a special dinner is served the Sunday before Thanksgiving in the corps’ community dining room. So many places serve dinners on the holiday that the corps uses resources and volunteers to deliver for “Meals on Wheels,” thus giving their employees the day off to spend with their families.
The Golden State Division‘s San Francisco Harbor Light Center will deliver 2,500 hot turkey dinners to the homebound and shut ins of the city. The Fire Department will help long time volunteers carve 125 turkeys cooked in the Handlery-Hoffman Kitchen. Delivery is only made possible by hundreds of volunteers who give their time on Thanksgiving Day.
Modesto Citadel will serve approximately 1,500 dinners, and again the Redwood City Corps will have five NFL players passing out Thanksgiving Dinner baskets to deserving people in the city. They estimate that, along with other volunteers, they will distribute 300 baskets.
Corps in the Del Oro Division plan to feed over 19,250 people on Thanksgiving Day with meals and food baskets. Some of the larger ones include Lodi, 2000; Fairfield, 1000, Stockton, 1000-1200; Tri Cities 1000; Sacramento 1000; and Reno, 750-1000.
Hayward Corps will serve a meal to 1500 in conjunction with the Greek Orthodox Church, and Lodi’s three community meals will be in cooperation with community families (corps), homeless (National Guard) and seniors (Baptist Church).
One of many corps in the Northwest Division celebrating Thanksgiving with help for the needy, the Renton Corps food basket program distributed 775 baskets last year, and hopes to increase the number to 850. This will be the 13th year for the program.
The William Booth Center in Seattle will hold its annual dinner for the homeless. Each year the staff and over 40 volunteers make this holiday a true expression of thanks to the Lord for His many blessings. Along with a turkey dinner served in style, a Salvation Army brass quartet provides music, and prizes are given away.
This Thanksgiving the Southern California Division will serve approximately 13,000 holiday dinners from mid-November through November 29.
Full course Thanksgiving meals will be served by Salvation Army staff and volunteers to the homeless, the elderly, and all others in need at corps community centers and program sites such as the Harbor Light Center on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles. There, the Army will serve more than 2,000 meals to homeless men and women.
In the Alaska Division, a Thanksgiving dinner will be served at the Federal Building in Anchorage, with more than 1000 slated to attend. Those serving meals will include Anchorage Mayor Rick Mystrom and his family. In addition, more than 180 meals will be delivered to homes for older Alaskans. In all, more than 2300 will enjoy Thanksgiving meals in the division.
As many as 400 volunteers in the Sierra Del Mar Division, many in tuxedos, will converge on Golden Hall in San Diego to serve a Thanksgiving feast to thousands of the city’s homeless. For many of the volunteers, serving the feast is a cherished holiday tradition shared by families who wake up early to set tables and place settings for the thousands of needy “guests” they will serve at noon. As the diners arrive, they will be individually escorted to their seats, with holiday wishes exchanged and words of hope and encouragement shared between volunteers and dinner guests.
Elsewhere in San Diego County, the Oceanside Corps will serve a delicious dinner to around 500 needy at the Elks Lodge in Oceanside, an annual event which has created a warm relationship between the Elks and Salvation Army volunteers. In all, the division will provide more than 6300 meals.
Throughout the Cascade Division, Salvationists will provide thousands of hungry people with holiday meals. In Idaho Falls, 1000 meals are scheduled to be prepared and served by more than 1800 volunteers, who will decorate, cook, deliver, and serve the dinners to shut-ins. In Twin Falls, the Army is teaming up with Chili’s Restaurant to serve around 200 meals to the needy. At the Medford, Ore., corps, Salvationists and volunteers will serve Thanksgiving dinner to 175 at their Homeless Rehab Center, in addition to distributing 150 food baskets to needy families.
The Harbor Light will serve approximately 500 meals, while 200 will enjoy dinner at the Rose Center for Seniors in Portland, Ore. Other Army sites will serve a total of more than 700 meals.