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Salvation Army gives thousands of Thanksgiving meals to those in need

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Posted at 4:43 PM, Nov 25, 2021

PHOENIX — Hundreds of Salvation Army volunteers came out to make sure thousands in the Valley got a Thanksgiving meal.

This Thanksgiving holiday tradition took place at the Phoenix Convention Center.

Many diners tell ABC15 they are thankful for the food, and good company.

One family we spoke to say they’re just glad to be alive

“I’m really thankful for them, and all the help there is,” said Alicia Escamilla.

Escamilla says this Thanksgiving meal with her family is extra special.

“It’s because I lost people in the COVID situation,” she told ABC15.

Escamilla also says she had a scare with her five children.

“They had the COVID, and it didn’t hit them as bad as other kids, so I’m really thankful for that,” she added.

This is a moment that wouldn’t be possible without the help of devoted volunteers, like Brianna Reitsch.

“I think spending Thanksgiving with my family is awesome, but being able to spend time with the community here, it just feels like one big family,” said Reitsch.

Salvation Army Major David Yardley says the goal was to hand out 6,100 meals by the end of the day on Thursday.

“This doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a lot of prep in the kitchen. So we’ve been active the last five days,” added Major David Yardley.

Though, the giving didn’t stop there. Barbers and hairstylists also volunteered their time.

Among them, Tiffany Dean.

“Looking to give back to people that have helped me out when I was homeless at the time. So I’m out here giving haircuts to the men and women out here,” Tiffany told ABC15.

Many say this day of giving is a blessing they'll forever be thankful for.

“It makes us feel happy that all of us are together,” said Amelia Sarmiento who came to have a meal with her family.

“I’m grateful for the food and the people that prepared this,” added Charles, who tells ABC15 he is extremely thankful for the Salvation Army.

“It makes me really happy that I have them with me and that there’s a lot of help out here for families that need it,” added Escamilla.