HONOLULU (KHON2) — This year would have been the 50th anniversary of Salvation Army’s annual Thanksgiving Meal event at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center.
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For the last 49 years, the Salvation Army has been hosting thousands of people in need of a hot turkey dinner and some company.
“Many of the people who come are senior citizens, many are homeless, and some are just wanting to be around friends for Thanksgiving,” said Major Jeff Martin, the Salvation Army Hawaii Divisional Leader.
However, because of COVID-19, gatherings that size are a thing of the past.
“We know that there’s so many difficult times that people are facing simply because they’re alone and they’re lonely and sad. It breaks our hearts that we’re not able to spend this time with them in [that] way,” Martin said about 2020.
Canceling the big event this year was a heart breaking decision for Major Jeff Martin because many seniors who live alone look forward to enjoying a Thanksgiving meal with friends.
“We know that, along with COVID-19 restrictions, comes a lot of loneliness where even sometimes their own families cannot be with each other,” he said.
However, the pandemic is not stopping the Salvation Army from handing out Thanksgiving meals to those in need.
“We’ll be bringing some in trucks and so forth to various low income housing and distributing door-to-door. The Kroc Center is also going to be delivering to at least one Senior Center,” Major Martin reassured.
There will also be numerous drive-through meal pick up locations across the state during the week of Thanksgiving.
“It shows that somebody cares, that they’re really not alone in the world, even though they might have to stay isolated temporarily,” Major Martin said about this year’s event.
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