East Texans enjoy Thanksgiving meal at Salvation Army’s annual event in Tyler

Volunteer: ‘Before we serve our families, we want to serve the community’
East Texas News at 6.
Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 8:46 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 24, 2022 at 8:47 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - While many East Texans spent Thanksgiving enjoying food and fellowship with family, that isn’t always an option for everyone.

On Thursday, the Salvation Army in Tyler served those who may have gone without with a warm meal during their annual community Thanksgiving.

“This is my home right now at the moment,” said Thaddis Holmes, a Veteran who has spent the last two weeks living at the shelter. Despite his current situation, Holmes says he has so much to be thankful for.

“Thanksgiving is about giving God thanks for all the blessings that you’ve received thus far,” Holmes said. “It isn’t about being thankful for presents and food. God said he’d give us that. What he has blessed us with is an opportunity at salvation.”

And at the Salvation Army on Thursday, it was volunteers working through God who helped prepare meals for 1,000 East Texans.

“We feel like before we serve our families, we want to serve the community,” said volunteer Sonya Baker.

“We’ve got families that make it a tradition to do it every year,” said Captain Jeremy Walker with The Salvation Army. “You’ve got people from all walks of life just coming in taking time out of their holiday season. It warms my heart so much when I see the volunteer list every year of people that just want to come out on Thanksgiving Day and give back.”

While the food was being served at a shelter, those who came there to eat Thursday were not asked to stand in line for their food. Instead, they were seated and served.

“We want to make this a family style meal,” Walker said. “We want them to just come in and sit down and just enjoy the fellowship, enjoy the music, and just take a take a load off. Don’t think about what’s going on in the world. Don’t think about anything. Just think about what they have to be thankful for.”

Along with serving meals inside, volunteers like seven-year-old Grayson were outside running bagged meals to those on the go.

“We give people the things that they need,” he said.

You see, Grayson is getting an early lesson about what thanksgiving is all about.

“The greatest thing in this world is deep inside of you,” said Holmes. “And that’s making a choice to love everyone. That’s the greatest thing you can do. Glory to God and Happy Thanksgiving!”

The Salvation Army wants to remind East Texans that annual projects like their Red Kettle Drive help make things like the Thanksgiving luncheon possible.