Food and fellowship at the Salvation Army

Annual free meal was well-attended

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The Salvation Army, located at 107 W. State St., was a busy place Thursday morning and afternoon as friends and family came together to serve groups of friends and family during the organization’s annual free community Thanksgiving day meal.

The menu consisted of turkey and ham, 150 pounds of sweet potato soufflé, 160 pounds of mashed potatoes, 50 gallons of gravy, corn, stuffing, pies donated by Marshalltown High School, plus dinner rolls.

“My husband Dale and I volunteer for this every year because there’s a need, and we enjoy filling it,” said volunteer Kim Meyer.

Indeed, the roughly 130 volunteers in totality bustled about the premises preparing and serving the meal, organizing takeout orders and making meal deliveries. Over 100 meals were delivered this year.

“The prep kitchen was an assembly line. We gave people two boxes — one for hot food, and the other for desserts and dinner rolls,” Meyer explained.

“It was busy from 10:30 this morning on,” said Major Ben Stillwell. “I know some folks really appreciate that they’re waiting on at tables instead of in a line. I would say we had as many people as last year come (800).”

Adults and children volunteers could be seen delivering plates of food and drinks to hungry guests. They worked in two shifts: the first from 8:30 a.m. to noon, setting up and serving the food, and a second afternoon shift that served latecomers and cleaned up.

“It’s our first year in the area, and we wanted to get to know people and volunteer,” said Jonathan Knight.

He and his wife Dawn helped organize the food pantry and filled cups of water and lemonade.

“It’s been a nice experience,” Dawn said.

Earlier this week, the Salvation Army announced its fundraising goal of $145,500 for this Christmas season, aimed at improving the lot of local folks in need.

“We couldn’t do this without volunteers,” Stillwell said.

On Saturday, Dec. 2 from 7:30-10 a.m., Breakfast with Santa will be held at the Salvation Army, co-sponsored by the Kiwanis. It will offer a freewill breakfast consisting of pancakes and sausage. All are welcome. To learn more, contact the Salvation Army at: 641-753-5236.

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com