The West gives thanks

Actors Malcolm Jamal Warner and Lou Gossett, Jr. volunteer in Los Angeles.

Thanksgiving meal reunites families
The Anaheim Adult Rehabilitation Center opened this year’s Thanksgiving Dinner to family members of beneficiaries. The devastation caused by drug and alcohol use often destroys family relationships. This family invitation provided an opportunity for families to come together, all clean and sober, and enjoy a Thanksgiving meal in a warm, caring and loving environment. Over 200 were in attendance to share this experience. A great time was had by all.

Contributed by Captain Henry Graciani

Giving thanks western style
The San Diego Adult Rehabilitation Center’s 8th annual “Thanksgiving Eve Dinner Country BBQ and Sobriety Celebration” was a time for food, fellowship, fun, and giving thanks.

In a “trading places” mode, beneficiaries enjoyed table service (no standing in line for this feast!) from ARC employees and graduates of the program who volunteered for the occasion. The volunteers, led by Majors Doug and Jan Williams, did the cooking, serving and cleaning up for the BBQ dinner. Western garb––shirts and cowboy hats—added to the festive “country” ambience. It was a welcome respite from the daily rigors of work therapy, meetings, counseling, classes and all that it takes to successfully “work the program.”

The evening’s theme was “Giving Thanks for Sobriety.” Residents of the two bridge houses (transitional residences for recent graduates) and other alumni joined the current beneficiaries in celebrating recovery. They shared stories, sang songs, thanked God, and gave each other the gifts of hope and encouragement.

Contributed by Major Doug Williams

Coming together to celebrate Thanksgiving
The Stockton Adult Rehabilitation Center and Silvercrest team up for many things, but Thanksgiving dinner is the most popular. Several beneficiaries and staff volunteered to set up, serve and clean up for the Stockton Silvercrest annual Thanksgiving dinner held on the November 22nd. John and Betty Laubenstein are the administrators of the Silvercrest, and John is an alumni of the ARC. The program beneficiaries love service opportunities like this; last year they caroled at the Silvercrest, bringing joy to both residents and themselves. This Christmas, beneficiaries hope to ring bells and carol again for League of Mercy activities throughout the season.

Contributed by Shawn Lerma

Thanksgiving at The Palace Café
While others are spending the day with family and friends, Captains Mike and Jennifer Bates, corps officers of the Sheridan, Wyom. Corps, make new friends by spending Thanksgiving at The Palace Café. The café provides a free Thanksgiving dinner to those who otherwise would not have a meal. Since coming to Sheridan in 2001, the Bates, along with their two children, Rebekah and Jonathan, have joyfully ministered to their community and shared a meal at The Palace on Thanksgiving.

Contributed by Bessie Moore

Metro Denver in the spirit of Thanksgiving
This Thanksgiving, over 3,000 people were helped by The Salvation Army in Metro Denver, Intermountain Division. Over 1000 Thanksgiving dinners were served. More than 500 meals were served at the Downtown Denver Convention Center, while additional boxed meals were distributed through the South Valley Corps. Earlier in the month, over 2000 turkeys were also distributed to families in need. The turkeys were provided by Chris and Mark Fellows and the Colorado Coalition of Faith.

Contributed by Stephanie Gustafson

1000 meals with music in Modesto
For more than 20 years, The Salvation Army in Modesto, Calif. has co-sponsored the Thanks4Giving dinner at the Modesto convention center. Dan and Denise Costa generously work to get friends and vendors to contribute to the event. Denise Costa is a member of The Salvation Army’s advisory board in Modesto. The Costas also do fundraising for the work of the Army throughout the year.

At this year’s Thanksgiving event, people began to line up at 9:00 a.m. as they do every year; they received coffee, hot chocolate and doughnuts distributed by corps volunteers. Prior to lunch, a small carnival was held for children with games, face painting, and fire department clowns. In addition, fire safety information was provided, and free family portraits and cell phone calls to anywhere in the U.S. were given away. 1000 Thanksgiving meals were served at the sit-down dinner, complete with live classical music and linen tablecloths.

Contributed by Captain Mike Dickinson

Fire and police departments carve turkeys for homebound in San Francisco
Hundreds of volunteers delivered nearly 3,000 meals prepared by The Salvation Army Harbor Light staff and residents to seniors and homebound people in San Francisco on Thanksgiving Day. Turkeys were donated by CSAAA and Harold De Luca. Members of the San Francisco Fire and Police Departments, including Chief Hayes-White and Chief Fong, helped carve more than 100 turkeys for the dinners.

For more than 40 years, the Army has been serving holiday meals to the thousands in the city who cannot leave their homes because of age or illness, through its annual Thanksgiving Meal Delivery program.

Contributed by Jennifer Byrd

Bakersfield unites to feed 1,100
The Bakersfield Temple Corps and the Bakersfield Citadel Corps combined their efforts this year with over 100 community volunteers to provide a Thanksgiving dinner to 1,100 people. The First Christian Church opened its facilities to accommodate the event. 100 turkeys were deep fried and declared delicious. It was the largest attended and best community dinner in years, according to enthusiastic participants.

Contributed by Captain David Ebel

No one is turned away; everyone is welcome with aloha
Thousands of men, women and children––the elderly, the disabled, the lonely, the homeless, the disadvantaged––were fed a traditional Thanksgiving meal in Hawaii on Thanksgiving day. In Honolulu alone, where this event has been held for 35 years, more than 1,600 people attended the annual dinner. All over Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, more than 6,500 meals were served.

“From Honoka’a to Hanapepe in the Hawaiian island chain, not only do we serve these festive sit-down meals, but we also make home deliveries to hundreds of shut-ins who are disabled and elderly,” said Major Dave Hudson, divisional commander.

Each year, the community has participated with the Army in this annual meal. At the Honolulu event, more than 800 volunteers provided time, energy and resources to make it possible. Companies, large and small, contribute food, cash, facilities, as well as volunteer time. Food brokers, bakeries, restaurants, florists, supermarkets, and hotels have made contributions to the Thanksgiving dinner. Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann provides the Neal Blaisdell Center, one of the largest conference halls in the city, as the venue for this charitable event. The Honolulu mayor is traditionally given the honor of carving the first Thanksgiving turkey.

Contributed by Daniel de Castro

The Salvation Army and Disney treat 2,500 to Thanksgiving dinner and entertainment
On Thanksgiving eve, The Salvation Army Southern California Division, with the assistance of event title sponsor Disney, supplied a hot turkey dinner to 2,500 men, women and children from the Army’s social service programs and adults from downtown L.A.’s skid row. Territorial leaders Commissioners Philip and Patricia Swyers brought Thanksgiving greetings to the attendees.

The meal was served by more than 500 volunteers, including 300 Disney VoluntEARS and others including veteran actor Lou Gossett, Jr., Elise Neal (Hustle & Flow), Constance Marie (The George Lopez Show), Tom Verica (American Dreams), Kirk Cameron, Malcolm Jamal Warner, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Los Angeles Councilmember Ed Reyes, Los Angeles Councilmember Dennis Zine, Los Angeles Councilmember Tom LaBonge, Los Angeles Councilmember Bernard Parks and Los Angeles Councilmember Jan Perry. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse also stopped by for a special visit.

Host actor-entertainer Bob Saget kicked off the entertainment show, which included multi-award-winning band Los Lobos, The Salvation Army Harbor Light Gospel Choir, and a musical medley finale of Disney songs and characters.

The dining hall was donated by the Los Angeles City Council and Los Angeles Convention Center. Employees of the Los Angeles Convention Center, the Convention Center’s in-house catering team and Aramark Sports and Entertainment prepared and served the dinner.

The Cheesecake Factory provides meals at Bell Shelter
Thanksgiving day dinner was prepared and served by The Cheesecake Factory to 600 homeless and low-income individuals and families at The Salvation Army’s Bell Shelter. Chairman and CEO David Overton joined with the chefs and staff of the well-known restaurant to prepare food and serve the 350 residents of the Army’s Bell Shelter program, as well as the Katrina evacuees that are currently residing at Operation Angel Island. Contributed by Carla Jackson

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