The Salvation Army in Tyler is fulfilling its annual mission of making sure the community is provided with a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
The annual lunch will be served beginning at 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. this year and organizers anticipate feeding about 1,000 guests. Meals will be served to-go or delivered due to the pandemic, said Cindy Bell, Director of Development of Salvation Army in Tyler.
About 50 volunteers took part in the special preparations on Wednesday afternoon, helping to carve turkeys and slice pies.
Every year the process is different, Bell said, but this year a record was broken when volunteers finished preparations in just an hour. In 2020, volunteers spent several hours getting everything done due to the lack of volunteers.
“Last year, I thought I had enough volunteers, 10 or 12 to come and do this and it turns out only four or five showed up,” Bell said. “I wanted to avoid that this year. I had about 75 lined up and 50 showed up, I had no idea of knowing they completed their service in one hour.”
Over 200 volunteers are set to help on Thanksgiving Day. Bell also mentioned that some started signing up as early as July.
“They like giving back, it’s very important to them. At this time of year, it just means a lot when you’re grateful for what you have,” she said. “You want to be able to give back to others who don’t.”
This year’s meal will include turkey, cornbread dressing, gravy, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, candied yams, dinner rolls and either pecan or sweet potato pie.
The main component to the meal was made possible thanks to a local company, Bell said.
“One hundred turkeys were donated by Greenberg Smoked Turkeys,” Bell said.
Bell said meals will be delivered to first responders who are on duty during the holiday, with the help of another set of volunteers.
The Salvation Army is supported by many in the community during this time to help offset the costs of the meal.
“We are so thankful for the community and their generous support,” Bell said.