SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash — Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for what you have, but also give to those in need. The Salvation Army of Spokane typically has a community dinner in their gym., but this year, it's a grab-and-go.
With Governor Jay Inslee's new restrictions for gatherings, the Salvation Army had to change their free Thanksgiving dinner, which normally serves about 500 people, Salvation Army Major Ken Perine said.
They could not host a large event inside, but Perine knew how important it was to provide their community with a meal during the holiday season.
"This is all new to us, we weren't sure how this was gonna work out," Perine said. "We've never done a drive-thru."
They also did walk-up meals.
"So we're still achieving our goal of meeting human needs, but quite a bit different this year with COVID," he added.
COVID-19 caused a huge issue for shelters across the city. Coronavirus safety regulations reduced the amount of people allowed at the centers.
Not only are people being turned away, but the charity said there are more people in need.
"Our volunteers and staff put together 250 meals for walk up and drive-thru folks," Perine said. "Over 400 people spends the night at one of our campuses, they also have received some kind of thanksgiving assistance."
They served 650 meals total - about 100 more than last year - which their team said is directly related to the pandemic.
"We want to be able to give back to the community and to let people know that they're appreciated or loved," he added.
The Salvation Army said no meal goes to waste, so any leftover food will be given out to those staying at their campuses.