Salvation Army serves thousands of free Thanksgiving meals to Central Florida families

Volunteers make changes to annual event due to coronavirus pandemic

ORLANDO, Fla. – From turkey to stuffing and all the traditional holiday sides, The Salvation Army is making sure families across Central Florida are getting a Thanksgiving meal this year.

Volunteers, as they do each each year, served the meals to those in need on Thanksgiving Day. But this year, they had to change things up a bit due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Usually, people will line up outside the building and eat dinner inside the gymnasium at The Salvation Army but this year, to-go meals were prepped and distributed for safety reasons.

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“We brought the volunteers who have been coming here for 27 years. We explained to them how COVID changed things, how we are changing up things. People have worked cooperatively,” said Captain Ken Chapman, area commander of The Salvation Army Orlando.

The process actually took several days from making the food to packing it up. Earlier this week, volunteers handed out thousands of food boxes and turkeys to families still struggling from the pandemic.

“We have already distributed 10,000, enough food for people in food boxes and turkeys in our food distribution,” Chapman said.

Chapman said despite the changes this holiday season, he is still so grateful for those who went out of their way to give back.

“Hope is what we all need right now. It’s been a long 7 or 8, 9 months for us but I believe in hope,” Chapman said.

Anyone interested in volunteering with or donating to The Salvation Army can learn more about the available opportunities by visiting SalvationArmyOrlando.org or calling 407-423-8581.

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