NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — The Salvation Army celebrated Thanksgiving today by passing out meals to people who are homeless and to families who just couldn’t afford turkey and all the trimmings this year.
It’s an annual tradition that serves more than 1,000 people in need at shelters in Dallas and Fort Worth.
“A lot of these families, if they didn’t come to the Salvation Army, they really wouldn’t be able to have a Thanksgiving celebration — a meal where the whole family can get together,” Salvation Army Director of Operations Jeff Upperman said.
The guests come from all walks of life, but share something in common today — gratitude.
“We should be thankful for everything,” said Wes Pelt, who ate with his family. “People around you, company, all these volunteers… They’re taking time away from their family to be here. It’s nice.”
More than 100 volunteers spend their Thanksgiving at the Salvation Army to make it all possible.
“I started off doing it as a payback years ago because the Salvation Army was so good to me and my family,” said Bill Fritz, who has been volunteering at every Salvation Army Thanksgiving celebration for the past 30 years with his wife.
He remembers all the times the organization brought his family a big turkey for the holiday.
“Made it so I could have Thanksgiving,” Fritz said. “Without them in the early years, I wouldn’t have eaten.”
The Salvation Army expects to feed more than 1,000 people in Dallas and another 400 to 500 in Fort Worth and their staff spent the past week preparing more than 100 turkeys.
“We have 200 pounds of mashed potatoes, over 200 pounds of sweet potatoes, over 1,000 rolls and over 1,000 pieces of pumpkin pie,” Upperman said.
There likely won’t be any leftovers, which volunteers say is a good thing.
“At the end of the day, I like all of the volunteers and myself going home feeling like you really did something great,” said Fritz. “You really helped many people, and that’s what the Salvation Army does.”
The Salvation Army also opens its doors to the public for a meal on Christmas Day.