JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Salvation Army helped roughly 1,000 families in need to enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner through its annual holiday food distribution Tuesday.
The doors to the Salvation Army’s West Adams street location opened at 8:30 a.m. and within minutes, things were moving and shaking. In a short time, dozens made their way through with a full Thanksgiving feast in hand.
The families who were served had already applied for and been approved for assistance.
Patrice Jones said she couldn’t be more grateful.
“I have little ones. I have grandchildren. My mother, everyone is just going to come together. So we’re very grateful to God. And all the families in Jacksonville. We just want to say ‘thank you," Jones said.
People of all ages passed through.
For Lanora Pope, moments like these remind her of what she’s really thankful for this year.
“It means I can feed my children, my grandchildren, so we can have a good time this Thanksgiving," Pope said. “It’s hope for everybody. So they can have something to eat. And be with their families. Feed their families and everything. It’s a good blessing.”
The day before the distribution, stacks of turkeys were boxed, canned items were ready to grab and volunteers were hard at work, making final preparations.
Major Keath Biggers with the Salvation Army said he looks forward to the Thanksgiving food distribution every year. He said it’s often a touching event.
“Many of them will hug us and just have tears of joy. And so it really is a blessing,” Biggers said. “Oftentimes, we take for granted what we have, and we don’t realize there are many that go without.”
Biggers said Sonny’s Bar-B-Q donated 700 turkeys, and Casey Jones donated hundreds as well.
Jones survived the "Miracle on the Hudson" incident in New York 10 years ago. In his online Thanksgiving drive, Jones wrote:
“10 years ago, I was on my way to a speaking engagement in mid-November, and I heard on the radio that the Salvation Army had not received nearly enough turkeys for the families that they help at Thanksgiving. I knew I had to do something about it.”Casey Jones
Biggers said most of the families receiving help include at least one adult and one child. For some families, Biggers said that the number is 8-10. He believes this experience is a true community partnership.
“A former general once said, ‘There is no greater reward than doing the most good to the most people in the most need,'” Biggers said. “We’re not able to do that except for the help and support of our volunteers, our donors and our friends.”
About the Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the Universal Christian Church established in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for 149 years in the United States.
VISIT THEIR WEBSITE: Salvation Army Northeast Florida
Nearly 35 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a broad array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster survivors, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. About 84 cents of every dollar raised is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide.