Salvation Army gives Thanksgiving meals to 1,500 families

Families wait in line in the rain Tuesday for Thanksgiving meals from the Salvation Army.
Families wait in line in the rain Tuesday for Thanksgiving meals from the Salvation Army.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With Thanksgiving just two days away, families are getting ready to prepare the big meal.

Many families in the area wouldn't have a Thanksgiving dinner if it weren't for the help of food banks and charity groups.

The Salvation Army is one organization making it possible for them to feed their families on the holiday.

About 1,500 families left the Salvation Army on Tuesday with a turkey and all the fixings to enjoy on Thanksgiving.

"I'm just thankful," said Katherine William.

"It feeds my family. It feeds a lot of people that can't get food," said Tammy Calhoun, who has a family of five. "We have a lot of food banks here, and it's a wonderful day."

Just a week ago, the Salvation Army was short 500 turkeys, but after the community stepped up and donated, it now has more than it needed.

"We were asking for 1,500. We actually got 1,600," said Paul Stasi, of the Salvation Army of Northeast Florida. "So the community really came through, as they always do in the past, and we're just always thankful."

It's making it possible for families like the Calhouns to eat a hearty Thanksgiving meal.

"It would be tough, no turkey," Calhoun said. "You know, a turkey cost about $20-$30 at the store, and by getting this turkey here and getting it free means a whole lot."

There are other charities around town that already gave meals to low-income families.

The Mandarin Food Bank had a big giveaway Monday, helping about 500 families. After Thanksgiving, it will need 500 more turkeys for Christmas.

The Second Harvest Food Bank handed out 2,500 meals last Friday.

One organization still in need is the Clara White Mission, which serves a Thanksgiving breakfast to the homeless. One of the chefs said it goes through about 700 eggs a day, so any donations would be appreciated.

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