The Salvation Army celebrates Thanksgiving

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Jesus Medina a 9 year Salvation Army volunteer guides guests to table with a flag
Jesus Medina a 9 year Salvation Army volunteer guides guests to table with a flag

EL CENTRO – It was a happy Thanksgiving for hundreds of families Thursday, thanks to the Salvation Army Volunteers that worked hard giving the community a festive holiday at their annual Thanksgiving lunch.

Over 200 volunteers arrived at the Salvation Army facility in El Centro during the early morning hours and pitched in to make it happen. The Imperial Valley’s less fortunate lined the building waiting for the doors to open.

At the entrance of the blocked road in front of the Salvation Army, a large fall-colored balloon archway greeted all. Workers set up and decorated with festive colors over 25 tables for families to enjoy their experience.

Hungry guests waited patiently for the free sit down four-course lunch to be served. The lunch consisted of Thanksgivings classics such as turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pie.

Major Vicky Esqueda explained how many years the annual event was put together “Before my husband, Major Jerry Esqueda, came to the Salvation Army 10 years ago, I believe it was only going on about three years but not on Thanksgiving day, the on Thanksgiving day lunch started 10 years ago.” She also added “When we first started the on Thanksgiving day lunch, there was only about 300 people that came, today we have set up to serve over 2500.”

Set on the decorated table was a large balloon turkey center piece, the center piece had a meals ready to eat (MRE) with a turkey design attached, the MRE center piece was for visitors to have and take home.

The previous year the Thanksgiving lunch fed 2,222 Imperial Valley’s less fortunate, this year they served 2,500 at the Salvation Army facility, plus an extra 200 boxed lunches that was served to local senior citizens.

After the lunch was served, two large trucks opened up with a massive amount of food donations for those in need at the event. The trucks held granola bars, chips, and other non-perishable food items.

The Salvation Army will be having their annual Christmas lunch on December 25, at the El Centro Salvation Army at 375 N. 5th Street. If you would like more information on the event you may call (760) 353-4880.

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