Volunteers prepare individual Thanksgiving meals to keep spirit of the holiday alive amid pandemic


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Though the pandemic has put a damper on large gatherings this year, many are keeping the spirit of Thanksgiving alive.

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Hundreds of volunteers from various non-profit organizations prepared and packaged meals for individuals and families across Oahu on Thanksgiving morning.

Juicy turkeys with all the fixings were wrapped and transported to households for the annual Lanakila Pacific’s “turkey-to-go fundraiser.”

In addition, the Salvation Army, which traditionally holds its annual Thanksgiving at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall and seats close to 2,000 people every year, was a no-go amid this pandemic.

Instead, individually wrapped meals for twice as many people were packaged with less volunteers, but the same amount of love.

“We usually have 800 volunteers at the Blaisdell. We have less right now. The way we’re doing it this year, we’re operating with less volunteers,” explained Jeff Martin, Hawaii and Pacific Islands Divisional Leader for the Salvation Army.

“Normally, we would have prepared the meals at the Blaisdell and had some hotels help us prepare. But hotels are not in any condition to do that. We had to change our method to getting meals prepared, so Foodland stepped in to help,” he shared.

The meals, enough for 4,000 people, were dropped off at locations for pick-up around the island.

Though the Salvation Army says it cannot provide the comfort of conversations and socializing this year, it still hopes families have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

“The experience we had at the Blaisdell with lots of entertainment and families joining together. That will not be possible. But we want the community to look forward to the possibility of that next year. This year we want to make sure everyone has something in their stomach, and give that warm Thanksgiving greeting and a ‘God bless you,'” said Martin.

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