Salvation Army Thanksgiving takes weeks of cooking

Along with dinner, those who ate with The Salvation Army enjoyed a choice of dessert / Sarah Bleau

Thanksgiving meal for some families may be a day's effort; at the Salvation Army, they began cooking Tuesday's Thanksgiving meal two weeks in advance.

"For about two weeks now we've been planning and prepping. We cook the turkey and freeze them, then we do the dressing and freeze it," says Mary Sumbry, who cooks meals for the Salvation Army not just for holidays but every day.

They say feeding the nearly 200 people they expect each year takes a lot of preparation and at least twice as much food than their daily meals.

The feast has become a tradition for the Salvation Army.

"Just a couple days before Thanksgiving, we wanted to get together and celebrate kind of a thanksgiving together -- a feast together you might say -- bringing all the community together no matter who you are and where you're from, just a chance to celebrate together," says Capt. Doug McClure.

Turkey, dressing, green beans, yams, dinner rolls and a choice of dessert: It's a meal volunteers at the Salvation Army say the people they serve enjoy

"I think people really appreciate it. I think people appreciate a chance to come and to get a meal and not a meal you have to go get, a meal that's served to them. We hand them the plate and they have a chance to sit down. They can sit with some people they may know around the area or some people they can just make a new friend while they're here," says McClure.

Despite the long weeks, days and hours leading up to the Thanksgiving feast, those who prepare it appreciate the meal as well in a different way.

"If I can make someone's meal, that may be their only meal for the day, and if I can be the one that give it to them, then I feel like I've done what I'm here for," says Sumbry.

Captain Doug McClure says Tuesday night between 140 and 150 people received a meal.

He says the reason for the pre-Thanksgiving meal is because Thanksgiving Day is one of two days the Salvation Army is closed.