U.S. Army, Salvation Army team up to give Thanksgiving to those in need
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — For 28 years, the Salvation Army has welcomed hundreds of people to their facility for a Thanksgiving feast. In year 29, the massive gathering couldn’t happen in a pandemic, but the people who rely on those meals were still able to feast this holiday.
Delivering hundreds of meals cooked by soldiers at Fort Carson, the Salvation Army continued to bring meals to the people who may not otherwise have them.
“When you need us the most, we’re always here. We’ve been there for 150 years and we’re not going anywhere, even though we’re in a pandemic,” said Doug Hanson, a captain with the Salvation Army’s Colorado Springs Corps.
Hanson expects more than 500 meals to be delivered and several more to be had in the organization’s socially distanced dining hall, made from the facility’s gym.
The Salvation Army takes in the donations of food, then brings them to Fort Carson where 20 of their soldiers prepared the feast.
“It’s a great way for us to give back to the community that’s given so much to Fort Carson soldiers over the years,” said Major General Matt McFarlane, the commanding general for the 4th Infantry Division at the Mountain Post.
McFarlane said he checked in on the soldiers at 6:30 Thanksgiving morning, and they had already been up to put the finishing touches on the meals.
Outside of the meal deliveries and the ones that were picked up, there was a smaller and socially distanced gathering in the Salvation Army’s gym that was turned into a dining hall.
“On Thanksgiving Day, the day that we give thanks and show our appreciation, I don’t think 2020 has given us a lot of fuel for that thankfulness, so we want to try to add to that. We want to create that environment,” Hanson said.
Hanson said the number of people seeking help from the Salvation Army has increased during the pandemic. The organization created a rent assistance program after the pandemic began in order to extend more help to the community.
The holiday season is a chance, as Maj Gen McFarlane sees it, to understand what people can accomplish together.
“This year has been a dynamic and unprecedented year with COVID-19 and a lot of the challenges it’s brought,” he said. “But while we’re doing things differently, learning at home, we’re doing smaller gatherings on holidays like today, it’s important that we continue things like this where we’re all giving together to ensure people have hope and a purpose through these challenging times.”
The Colorado Springs Corps will be doing another feast for Christmas. Hanson says they need donations, volunteers, and bell ringers in order to make it successful.