Salvation Army hosts 38th annual Thanksgiving meal

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COLORADO SPRINGS — On Thanksgiving, many needy members of the community were recipients of a Thanksgiving feast, thrown by the Salvation Army as their 38th hosting of the event.

The dinner enjoyed by those who showed up to the 38th annual Thanksgiving dinner. Credit: Sarah Hempelmann

“We have turkey, we have stuffing, we have green bean casserole which everybody loves all right and yummy mashed potatoes, yams… everything made from scratch at our kitchen,” said Captain Eric Wilkerson, director of the Salvation Army and retired officer.

Turkey, potatoes, green beans, a roll and pie is just one of the variations of meals that the shelter offered. Credit: Sarah Hempelmann

The dinner was open to everyone, and hundred showed up including single men, single women and families. They came from all backgrounds as well whether they were homeless, struggling financially or simply didn’t have the means to make a big Thanksgiving meal themselves.

“It’s nice that we can serve a dinner that is extremely filling because you know a lot of the men who come in off the streets are very thin. And so it’s great to pack in some calories once in a while,” Wilkerson said.

On Thursday, the Salvation Army said they had about 10 volunteers — some of whom had been there for a while, and others who had originally come to the shelter for help but later decided to volunteer as a way to give back.

Volunteers add the finishing touches to a piece of pumpkin pie. Credit: Sarah Hempelmann

“When I was on the streets, food was hard to come by for me because I didn’t know about getting into shelters,” said Jeremy Gearheard, a volunteer and former patron of the shelter. “The fact that I can give back in any way that I can makes me feel like I’m doing some sort of part to help out.”

The Salvation Army said it’s these lives and others like this one that make what they do worth it. The shelter also said they want to start reaching children more as well, since many of the homeless and struggling are, in fact, families.

“It’s pretty sad when a child has to start their life, you know, living in a homeless shelter. So we try to make the holidays for them as festive and as happy as possible,” Wilkerson said.

The Salvation Army said they are going to start decorating for Christmas soon, and they’re excited to enlist some help from the people they house.

The shelter said that they still need winter clothes like coats, hats and gloves as the weather starts to turn colder. If you would like to donate or want more information, you can find their website here.

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