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Salvation Army Provides Thanksgiving Meals to Those in Need

By Tiffany DeMasters
November 25, 2021, 6:30 AM HST
* Updated November 24, 4:52 PM
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Volunteers with the Salvation Army hand out Thanksgiving food boxes on Saturday, Nov. 20. (PC: Lt. Raghel Santiago)

The Salvation Army (SA) continues to find ways to ensure a Thanksgiving meal is delivered to those most in need amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to 2020, the SA hosted a Thanksgiving lunch at Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill in Kailua-Kona. As the coronavirus has continued to hamper gatherings in the community, volunteers had to get creative to ensure people didn’t go hungry.

Last year, SA Corps Officer Lt. Raghel Santiago said they were able to pass out meals to the homeless as well as deliver food to seniors and shut-ins.

“We’ve seen the homeless gather in a park to eat together,” Santiago said. “They’re very appreciative.”

The SA launched a pilot program last year where they created Thanksgiving food boxes. This year, they were able to expand on that and provided 250 boxes to those in need, which were given out on Nov. 20.

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“These meals were already planned,” Santiago said. “Boxes of food included a turkey or ham with all the fixings.”

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Today, the SA, with the support of Jackie Rey’s will put together 500 hot meals, which will be delivered to seniors and shut-ins.

Santiago said they also plan to give warm meals to the shelter and homeless community.

The Salvation Army in Hilo will also be giving out pre-ordered meals in a grab-and-go system at their downtown office.

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With Christmas around the corner, SA has already launched its Angel Tree program, which gives individuals the opportunity to provide gifts to keiki in need.

Trees with tags of names and needs are put up around town. The public can find a tree at Walmart, The Fish Hopper, Denny’s and The Club Kona. The Angel Tree program helps keiki from newborns to 17 years old, those with special needs and seniors.

To help the SA with Thanksgiving meals next year, monetary donations can be dropped off at the Salvation Army office in Kona. For more information, call The Salvation Army Kona Corps at 808-326-2330.

Currently, SA needs volunteers for bell ringing.

Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a reporter for Big Island Now. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat.
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