It's turkey time at the Big Spring Salvation Army, as the local charity prepares to open its arms — and its kitchen — to the community for its annual Thanksgiving dinner Thursday, Nov. 22.
Prep work for the dinner is expected to get under way next, according to Salvation Army Social Worker Bessie Flores, continuing daily until the meal is ready to be served.
“We'll actually bring in most of the supplies and groceries that Monday, so there's going to be plenty to do at the beginning of the week,” said Flores. “We'll be working on getting all of the vegetables ready and start cooking turkeys — about 20 of them — sometime Tuesday. The bulk of the work gets done the day before, however, and that's when we really need our volunteers the most.”
Flores said several local civic groups are expected to donate their time to make the Thanksgiving feast a success, but more help is always welcome around the local charity's kitchen.
“It really is just an immense amount of work, and it has to be done in a fairly short period of time,” Flores said. “Our volunteers are absolutely vital to that process. We have groups that come in just about every year and help, and this year we're hoping to see some new faces as well. Giving your time and volunteering during Thanksgiving really gives you a new perspective on the holiday.
“We had a family call ahead and let us know that about 10 of them are going to be coming in to volunteer. They said they are doing it in memory of their grandmother because this was her favorite time of them year. So there are plenty of reasons for folks to volunteer.”
Flores said volunteers are expected to begin delivering meals to homebound residents at approximately 10 a.m. Thursday, but there's plenty of work for the Salvation Army staff and volunteers to do in the meantime.
“As we have in the past, we'll be delivering meals to those who can't make it here to the Salvation Army office for dinner,” Flores said. “However, we need to get a solid count of how many meals will need to be delivered. What we're asking is for people who need a meal delivered to call and make arrangements by 5 p.m. the day before Thanksgiving. We'll be delivering meals Thanksgiving day until about 11 a.m.”
Flores said area residents wanting to volunteer can simply show up at the charity's office, located at 811 W. Fifth St., Wednesday morning.
“They can call if they need more information, or if they just want to let us know they are coming. However, if they just want to show up at the office at 9:30 a.m., we'll be more than happy to put them to work,” Flores said. “Also, if they would like to bring their own cutlery, they are welcome to, but they need to be sure to keep it separate from the rest of the knives. We're also going to need volunteers to help Thanksgiving morning.”
Time and hard work aren't the only things on the Salvation Army's holiday wish list, according to Flores.
“We also need people to donate deserts,” Flores said. “The community always comes through for us each year in a big way, and we're hoping this year will be no different.”
This year's holiday menu will be filled with traditional Thanksgiving fare, according to Flores.
“Thanksgiving just isn't Thanksgiving without turkey,” she said with a laugh. “We'll also have the traditional trimmings, like dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and green beans. A lot of work goes into preparing a Thanksgiving meal, but it's well worth it.”
Flores said the in-house meal will be served in the Salvation Army's dining hall from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
“It’s open to everyone in the community,” she said. “Anyone — and I do mean anyone — who would like to come in and have a great Thanksgiving meal can just walk through our doors and grab a plate. Bring your family and have a great meal.”
For more information on how you can help, or to set up a meal delivery, contact the Big Spring Salvation Army at 267-8239.