Salvation Army Serves Thousands
During Thanksgiving Week
The first guest arrived around 8:00 on the morning of The Salvation Army Greater New York Division’s annual Thanksgiving Day dinner, even though doors to The Army’s 14th Street headquarters in Manhattan wouldn’t open until 11. By the time the servings were finished at 2, more than 1000 people had enjoyed turkey dinner with all the trimmings, while taking home gifts of cookies, socks and toiletries.
This annual Thanksgiving dinner, The Salvation Army’s largest in the New York City area, is believed to be the oldest free Thanksgiving dinner in the city, and possibly the entire country. This year’s dinner was once again prepared by world-class caterer Great Performances, and paid for by The Salvation Army.
“It’s become a tradition here,” said Auxiliary Captain Giovanny Guerrero, Commanding Officer of The Salvation Army’s New York Temple Corps Community Center a few doors down. The center hosted a “companion” dinner for guests not able to navigate the stairs at headquarters. “Our main goal is to get more unity in the community and especially among families. We want to create a family ambiance so people won’t feel strange or singled out. They will feel they’ve reached home.”
Combined with sit-down dinners offered throughout the holiday week at locations around the Greater New York area, The Salvation Army served Thanksgiving dinners to close to 5,000 people, not counting the thousands of turkeys and chickens distributed to adults and families in need and hundreds of meals delivered to the homebound.
For the nearly 400 guests at The Salvation Army’s Freeport Corps Community Center on Long Island, dinner included pumpkin cheese cake, a signature dish of The Cheesecake Factory, which sponsored the meals and sent volunteers.
“It means a lot to provide a meal,” said Major Raquel Ramirez, Commanding Officer of the Freeport Corps. “We have people with a lot of disadvantages. We also have a senior center and a good number of the seniors came. We have low-income people who couldn’t afford a good meal. The spirit was good and the food was delicious.”