Volunteers Make a Difference
A total of 321 San Francisco Harbor Light volunteers prepared and personally delivered more than 2,300 Thanksgiving meals for seniors and disabled in the city. Major Vickie Shiroma noted the unusual number of children helping along with their parents.
Thirteen-year-old Michael Dewey from St. Hilary’s School in Tubuson turned out to be a champion box crimper. That’s the one who puts the final squeeze on the lid which keeps food delivery containers hot. The kitchen was filled with 40 people scooping out mashed potatoes, dressing, mixed vegetables, turkey and cranberry sauce, boxing them and rushing cartons out to the parking lot where volunteers waited to drive them to seniors throughout the city.
His family’s history with this kind of holiday volunteering goes back 12 or 14 years, and Michael has been doing it since second grade.
Michael’s mother was stationed at the packing area. She said they’ve been checking out a number of high schools with him to see which ones have strong community service requirements. Private schools seem to have them, but public schools don’t.
For the past 36 years, veteran turkey carver Ernie Marx has helped slice the Army’s birds. For 12 years before that he had his own butcher shop in Sea Cliff. A dozen off-duty firemen joined in the slicing duties.
The meals go to a wide range of places–from the most dilapidated single room occupancy hotels in the poorest part of the Tenderloin to homes in the Richmond or Sunset, where seniors may have long since paid their mortgages, but now live frugally on a fixed income. Simply having someone wish them “Happy Thanksgiving” is as important as the meal itself.
As they wait to receive their delivery routes, veteran volunteers share poignant stories about situations they’ve encountered during this project.
Serving a tradition
Randy Greer and his friend Scott Smith were 12 years old when they delivered their first turkey dinner from Harbor Light. They’ve been coming every year since. This day, 35 years later and joined by Greer’s brother Ray, they made the largest single delivery–140 meals to the Midori Hotel in the Tenderloin.
Sunset Baptist Chinese Church brought 45 young adults, took 17 routes and delivered 255 meals. At least half of the group had never participated in the project before. One–who heard about it on the Internet–drove in from Stockton, bringing in four cases of spaghetti sauce for later distribution. Most of the group had plans for evening holiday meals with their respective families; but after their deliveries were taken care of in the morning, they went out for lunch together as a “spiritual family.” When last heard from, they were planning to eat Chinese.
There was food for 6,000 people at Colorado Springs, Colo., according to Major Stephen Owen, local corps officer and coordinator. Dinners were open to anyone needing a Thanksgiving meal or who would be spending the holiday alone.
U.S. Army soldiers at Colorado Springs’ Ft. Carson started cooking turkeys the Monday before and transported food to four sites. Kentucky Fried Chicken provided the stuffing, cooked and ready to serve on the holiday. Turkeys, rolls and desserts were donated by hundreds of individuals, churches, companies and groups around the city.
Walnut and Red Bluff, Calif.
Holiday operations in Red Bluff are based in a donated building this season. People apply for assistance at the Center during hours of operation and pick up application packets which schedule their interviews.
Food 4 Less and Channel 7 “Share Your Christmas” have a food drive in the parking lot, after which it will be taken to the Center. There is an Angel Tree at the Center, and others at the Grocery Outlet Store and Bank of America.
A/Captain Cruz Rodriguez is hoping for an entirely volunteer force to man the kettles this season, as they have had in the past.
Quayles help out in Phoenix
The Southwest Division shared its largest congregate meal at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza hotel in downtown Phoenix on Thanksgiving Day. Former Vice President Dan Quayle, joined by his wife, Marilyn, and daughter, Corrine, assisted feeding the 2500 hungry and homeless who attended.
ASU Football Coach Bruce Snyder and members of his team were also on hand to help out.
The hearty traditional meal was served by over 300 volunteers. This year, Coldstone Creamery ice cream shops donated homemade pumpkin ice cream, a perfect treat for the unseasonably warm day.
Throughout the Metro Phoenix area, The Salvation Army feeds over 5,700 individuals on this holiday through sit-down dinners and home-delivered meals.
This is the second year that the Quayles have shown their support and commitment to the Army’s holiday programs. Marilyn Quayle is a member of the Metro Phoenix Advisory Board, as well as the National Advisory Board.