Salvation Army serves up 500 Thanksgiving meals to New York City's needy

Salvation Army
Volunteers hand out Thanksgiving meals at the 14th Street Salvation Army in New York City on Nov. 26, 2020 Photo credit Austin Wideman: Salvation Army

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The Salvation Army’s years-long tradition of holding Thanksgiving dinner for the needy still took place Thursday, even with a smaller crowd and fewer volunteers.

What's normally an indoor event took place outside at the 14th Street Salvation Army Headquarters.

“The overall spirit of the people of was just one of gratitude today. very thankful that the salvation army was serving food. That's great, great to see a very positive day,” said Major Kevin Stoops.

Salvation Army
Volunteers hand out Thanksgiving meals at the 14th Street Salvation Army in New York City on Nov. 26, 2020 Photo credit Kristie Keleshian

The Thanksgiving feast usually serves about 750 people but this year, they only saw about 500.

Still, Major Stoops says the feeling of gratitude remained the same.

Salvation Army
Volunteers hand out Thanksgiving meals at the 14th Street Salvation Army in New York City on Nov. 26, 2020 Photo credit Kristie Keleshian

“We began the day with a downpour and so I think the elements had a little bit to do with that,” he said. “I also think just, that’s the effects of the pandemic as well.”

There are normally about 100 volunteers to help out each year but this year it was reduced to just 28.

“The volunteers that were able to join us, they were very interested in making sure that, ‘you're still coming this, right?’ And when we said ‘yes’ and they were relieved that they could still come out and serve,” Stoops said.

Salvation Army
Volunteers hand out Thanksgiving meals at the 14th Street Salvation Army in New York City on Nov. 26, 2020 Photo credit Kristie Keleshian

He says people are reliant on the Salvation Army, especially during these unprecedented times.

“There is urgency to make sure that we continue to be available so that people could utilize that the help that they needed today,” Stoops said.

Salvation Army
Volunteers hand out bags of personal protective equipment at the 14th Street Salvation Army in New York City on Nov. 26, 2020 Photo credit Kristie Keleshian

Guests were also given backpacks with personal protective equipment, hats, scarves, socks and a guide listing additional resources available in New York City.

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