SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Some families may not have the means to put a turkey dinner on the table. That’s where The Salvation Army of Savannah comes in, working to help those who need it.
Staff began serving turkey and all the fixings at 11:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving. It’s a day to give thanks, but for staff at Salvation Army, it’s more about giving.
“We really feel that our gifting is serving people and loving people through food,” said lead cook Stephanie Casterlin.
Casterlin prepared to serve up to 300 people. At the end of the day Thursday, Casterlin said she expected they served up to 400.
She said it took months of planning and shopping to make sure every plate is full.
“We started ordering the food about mid-September,” Casterlin said. “There’s been some food shortages due to COVID, so we had to do some advanced planning and ordering. But we partner with Second Harvest food bank — we’ve had lots of donations as well from our community.”
For some staff, residents of Salvation Army’s housing facility feel like their own family. They said sitting out on the holiday is worth it to serve others.
“I could be here and this could be me needing the meal,” said cook Cindy Wygant. “But I’m thankful that God’s allowed me to be able to give to other people.”
It takes many hands to dish out the meals. Dozens of volunteers donate their time, including Mercy Mondt and her family. She said it feels good to do something for others.
“It’s pretty humbling I would say,” said volunteer Mercy Mondt. “To me, it feels like I’m doing such a small thing…and to see that it means that much even to do just a small thing, it puts me in my place.”
This is the first year since the pandemic that people were able to enjoy their dinner in person. Last year, Salvation Army gave out to-go meals due to COVID-19.
Staff said it’s refreshing to see people come back together this year.
“It’s wonderful after last year, when people just came and got boxes of food, that they can now come and fellowship, make new friends, just be outside in this beautiful weather,” Casterlin said.