Salvation Army hosts annual community Thanksgiving meal

Members of the Salvation Army of Tallahassee Disaster Team. Photo courtesy Salvation Army

The holiday season is upon us. It starts with Thanksgiving and ends with New Year’s Day.

Each year before Thanksgiving, the Salvation Army sponsors a community Thanksgiving meal. Beginning two days before Thanksgiving, volunteers gather to prepare a full home-made Thanksgiving dinner that is open to anyone in need of fellowship or a hot meal.

Nearly 500 guests are served completely by volunteers in a family style environment, from drinks to desserts.

The mission statement for the Salvation Army is, “The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination”.

The need for service in the community is something Julie Smith knows all too well. Smith, who has been with the Salvation army for 13 years, serves as the social services program coordinator.

“We hope that we’re able to provide something that is going to be a bridge and is going to at least give hope to some people,” said Smith.

The Salvation Army prides itself in making a difference in the community.

“We just hope that something that we say, something that we do, something that they see makes a difference for them,” said Smith.

There are three major programs in social services: Emergency Disaster Services, Emergency Social Services, and Anti-Human Trafficking.

Courtney Cummings has worked as a social worker for the Salvation Army for almost two years. Working in the community and his desire to help people in need is what brought Cummings to t organization.

“I started with the Department of Children and Families and after DCF I was a certified counselor in the prison and that organically led me here,” Cummings said.

He says the most rewarding experience is being able to impact the community.

“Seeing people that really need help and being able to provide whatever help that is whether it be encouraging words, food, or clothes. Whenever you’re dealing with people in the community you’re going to be rewarded immediately because you’re doing the work.”

His passion for his work is evident no matter what time of year it is.

“I’m passionate about it so I’m always rewarded,”  Cummings said.

The Salvation Army will hold its annual community Thanksgiving meal from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday at 2410 Allen Road, Everyone is invited to attend, and no reservation is necessary.