Salvation Army serves Thanksgiving meals, volunteers give their time

Salvation Army Volunteers Hand Out Meals
Salvation Army Volunteers Hand Out Meals(WWNY)
Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 7:05 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The Watertown Salvation Army’s Thanksgiving dinner returned and it looked a lot like it’s pre-pandemic self.

From noon to 2:00 p.m. Thursday, people were treated to turkey dinners via takeout, delivery and, for the first time in 3 years, dining in.

Now that people are allowed inside, the Salvation Army saw a boost in attendance; serving more than 900 meals.

On top of that, hundreds of pie slices were given out.

Captain Elizabeth Nicoll says it’s good to be back to normal.

“It’s great to be able to have eat in again, said Nicoll, “We can have people come, sit around a table. Fellowship, get to know us. It’s hard when people are coming in and taking the meal to go. We don’t have that chance to make a connection, to get to know them, to learn their names and learn their story. It’s really great we’re able to have that again.”

There was no shortage of volunteers for the Salvation Army’s dinner, spending their thanksgiving serving others.

Thanksgiving is a day for family, friends, food, but not usually for work.

At the Salvation Army’s Thanksgiving dinner, volunteers of all ages took a different path.

“It makes me very happy,” said volunteer Hannah Engle, “People that don’t get food, like the homeless. They can get food today.”

Among those who chose service before their stuffing was Jason Langstaff.

His family lives too far away for him to celebrate with, so he spent the day helping his other family; The Salvation Army.

“At least helping out people in our community and doing good service work, it’s good to do and it felt like the right thing to do,” said Langstaff.

This was the first year people have been allowed to eat in since the start of the pandemic so the salvation army expected and got a lot of traffic.

”This week we have been cooking more turkeys,” said Cpt. Nicoll, “We made 49 turkeys for today alone. Just an outrageous amount of turkey that we’ve been cooking for days now.”

Cooking the turkey was left to the adults, but the volunteers delivering food to tables were on the younger side.

“I like helping people. I’ve always liked helping people,” said 12-year-old Nadjai Booker, he’s been volunteering since he was four and no one doubts his expertise.

“I get to help adults and they don’t treat me like a kid,” said Booker. ”They treat me like I’m an actual worker here.”

This thanksgiving was the first time the youngest Nicoll, Jillian, got to volunteer.

”It feels pretty good to volunteer here because I get to help out people,” said Jillian Nicoll.

More than 900 meals and 49 turkeys were served.