The smells of Thanksgiving food, and the sounds of fellowship and fun were in the air Thursday at Applebee’s in Salina. The only thing on the menu was turkey, and all the trimmings.
Though it was a little chilly, people begin lining up outside at around 10:00 in the morning, a full two hours before the doors were scheduled to open. The volunteers inside, and the food, were ready to go so they opened the doors about a half hour early.
This was the first Thanksgiving event in Salina for Captain Deb Thompson, who has been been with the Salina Salvation Army for only about five months. She told KSAL News that events like this are what she signed up for. She said “it is a great holiday, family atmosphere here and I am so blessed to be part of it.”
Carolyn Burch was organizing volunteers, taking over for Debbie Andrews who had did it for the past 17 years. Burch told KSAL News that it truly is a labor of love. “There is so much holiday spirit in here,” she said. “Just look at all of the smiles and happiness,” she added. Burch’s son Caleb Holeman was helping her at the event, and they plan to now make this a family tradition
An event like this wouldn’t be possible without a small army of volunteers. Along with the Salina Salvation Army, Applebee’s, the Salina Country Club, and the GL Huyett company of Minneapolis all are instrumental in pulling it off.
The event attracts a very wide range of people, the homeless, those who live alone and are looking for a little companionship, and groups of families and friends who gather to share a meal.
As the restaurant began to quickly fill with hungry people, it also filled with laughter and smiles.