Charity Makes Big Difference for Needy at Holiday

For some East Texans, a helping hand is all that keeps them from going hungry for the holidays. While many people have made their Thanksgiving travel plans, hundreds of East Texans have nowhere to go to enjoy the holiday.

And that's where Tyler's Salvation Army steps in.  They're getting ready for their annual Thanksgiving dinner.

Salvation Army resident George Young feels good about the extended kindness. "It's always a good thing when you've got someone who is helping to feed those that are without."

George is one of the hundreds who rely on organizations like the Salvation Army for more than just food. Monday, they were eating in a combination dining hall and chapel. Thursday, the room will be serving dinner for almost a thousand. More than one hundred volunteers will serve dinner, part of their commitment to taking care of people in need.

"All the people here," Young says, "the staff, they have gotten us to the place where it's like a family situation in God."

George came to the Salvation Army a few weeks ago seeking help with his alcohol dependency. He says they've helped him greatly.

"Places like this here," he says, "The Lord sent me to them so I could get myself straightened out. I feel a lot better. You come here, people show you mercy, they show you compassion."

Thanks to the Salvation Army, he's looking forward to the holiday. So as the food continues to come in, the preparations continue on all levels.

Linda Edwards of the Salvation Army explains their philosophy. "The word 'needy' does not mean monetary or financial need. There's many many emotional needs especially during the holiday season that need to be met."

The Tyler Salvation Army and the Highway Eighty Rescue Mission in Longview will both be serving Thanksgiving dinner Thursday. Also, the Salvation Army is still running the Angel Tree in the Longview and Tyler malls.

Reid Kerr, reporting.