Every year thousands of people gather at the Blaisdell for the annual Salvation Army Thanksgiving lunch.
This year more than 5,000 meals were provided to people statewide.
The event isn’t just for those who are in need of a meal, it’s also for those who don’t want to be alone on Thanksgiving, and for some who just want to bring joy to others during the holidays.
“Thanksgiving is one of those meals where you remember family, good times, happiness, and joy and if you’re alone it’s just not the same,” said Major Jeff Martin, Salvation Army Hawaii divisional leader. “So being able to come here and experience a meal even with people you don’t know is great.”
For 49 years, the Salvation Army has provided Thanksgiving meals to thousands of people across Oahu.
“As I was welcoming people as they came in, one gentleman was almost weeping when he said to me, ‘Thank you for caring,’ and that really touched my heart because apparently he needed somebody to care for him today,” said Maj. Martin.
While many people who stopped by were in need of a hot meal, people like Lisa come every year. She said she saves a seat for her mother who passed away five years ago.
Others were grateful for this particular Thanksgiving.
“I lived on the streets of Honolulu, I was homeless and God has blessed me with a job now and an opportunity to stay with some friends,” said Wendall Miguel. “So I’m back, by the grace of God I’m back on my feet again and feeling good now.”
More than 600 volunteers helped in the Thanksgiving event.
“Thanksgiving is honestly a wonderful time for everyone to come together and it’s really lovely seeing everyone,” said volunteer Tatianna Reyes. “We’re all just blessed to have this wonderful opportunity to come and help.”