Watertown Salvation Army prepares for its take-out style Thanksgiving dinner

Updated: Nov. 25, 2020 at 3:30 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The turkey is being cooked, the stuffing stirred, and the potatoes are waiting to be mashed at the Watertown Salvation Army.

The organization is preparing to serve its annual Thanksgiving dinner.

But this year, the organization is taking precautions to keep its volunteers and the community safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Major Karen Smullen said the Salvation Army has had a high volume of calls this year for turkey dinners.

“There are people that are calling saying, financially, it is even harder for them this year. COVID has actually made it more difficult for people to provide for themselves,” Smullen said.

The traditional turkey dinner usually takes place inside the building. But this year, it will be moved outside as a “take-out” style.

The Salvation Army asks anyone planning to pick up food to wear a mask upon arrival.

Masking up is something they have asked all of their volunteers to do, but that volunteer list has been shortened to meet COVID-19 guidelines.

“It has been more time consuming for us to be able to make sure that everyone gets a chance,” Smullen said. “This is the one day a year that they really expect to come in.”

But through the changes, a select group of volunteers still came out to help slice the turkeys and bag up additional food donated by the Food Bank of Central New York.

Last year, Major Smullen said over 500 meals were distributed, but she expects to serve many more on Thursday.

The event will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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