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.
For over two decades the Salina Salvation Army has served a free community-wide Thanksgiving meal at the South Salina restaurant.
People begin lining up outside in the warm sunshine 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 10 minutes early.
This was the first Thanksgiving event in Salina for Captain Lynn Lopez. She was all smiles as she stood by a red kettle and greeted people as they entered.
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.
Roxanne Matous from the Salvation Army told KSAL News that volunteers ranged in age from small children, to senior citizens. There were single volunteers, as well as large groups. The largest group of volunteers was the Frank family, 10 people strong.
The community-wide event attracted 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 gathered to share a meal.
As the restaurant began to quickly fill with hungry people, it also filled with laughter and smiles.
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