Salvation Army puts on feast big enough to feed town

Salvation Army puts on feast big enough to feed town

Ten-month-old Brayden Gemberling, left, of Grand Junction and his sister Leah, 4, enjoy a feast at the Salvation Army’s Thanksgiving dinner held Thursday at the Elks Lodge, Fourth Street and Ute Avenue. The two were partaking of the culinary delights with their mother Taunya.

The turkey was moist and the mashed potatoes were creamy.

Just the smells wafting up The Salvation Army’s annual Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday would have made anyone melt.

But it was the smiles on the faces of hundreds of people who enjoyed the hot meal and camaraderie that made the annual effort worthwhile, officials said.

The event usually attracts about 600 to 700 people, and Thursday’s dinner at the Elks Lodge appeared to garner about that many folks, said Claudia Jackson, The Salvation Army’s director of public relations.

“We see all walks of life here,” she said. “Some are the elderly who have no other place to go. Some are folks who are on the street. We don’t care. We’re here to feed them all.”

Theresa Hanson, her daughter, and granddaughter and 17-year-old Destiny Porro gathered around the family-style tables and said grace holding hands before digging in. Theresa usually does the big meal for family, but she was ill this year and didn’t feel up to the task. With such a delicious spread at The Salvation Army’s meal, nobody seemed to mind.

As usual, plenty of donations went into the event. Easy Ride Limousine donated limo rides for folks from the Homeward Bound homeless shelter. Meadow Gold donated bread and butter and Albertsons donated the pies. Ale House cooked up the veggies and Great Harvest Bread Company baked the rolls. Colorado Mesa University’s Sodexo cooked 2,000 pounds of turkey, the stuffing and more than 26 gallons of gravy.

Others, like Shirley McGuiness, donated time. McGuiness, who is a member of the Orchard Mesa Lions Club, poured gravy over countless plates of turkey, stuffing and potatoes.

“Then when they asked who wanted to go eat, I just raised my hand and said ‘me’,” she said.


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