Cape Girardeau Salvation Army seeks volunteers for Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 25, 2008
FRED LYNCH ~ flynch@semissourian.com
Madeline Hamm, 7, placed a roll on a plate as her mother, Amy Canady, added gravy to a Thanksgiving Day meal last year at the Salvation Army in Cape Girardeau. They and Sheila Ainsworth, left, were among the volunteers who helped with the annual dinner.

With almost 200 people signed up for home-delivered meals on Thursday, the Salvation Army in Cape Girardeau is seeking volunteers to help provide Thanksgiving dinner.

With no Meals on Wheels delivery on the holiday, the Salvation Army takes up the slack and puts providing meals to people who are homebound for whatever reason a priority for the day, said Major Ben Stillwell, commander of the Salvation Army location at 701 Good Hope St.

Last year, the Salvation Army delivered 400 Thanksgiving Day meals and fed more than 500 people in the dining room. Delivery requests received by 4 p.m. Wednesday are guaranteed to be delivered and requests made Thursday morning will be filled if food and drivers are available, Stillwell said.

"We are probably in good shape for people on site," Stillwell said of the anticipated volunteer staffing. "Sometimes we have more people show up than we ever could use. But the area that makes us a little bit concerned is individuals willing to deliver. That we may be short on."

The economic downturn — Stillwell said that by his count more than 270 jobs have been lost in this area in recent months — will likely mean larger numbers of people will be on hand for the annual Thanksgiving meal from noon to 2 p.m. "All our indicators suggest we may see more people than we ever have before," he said. "This is one time I wish I was wrong."

The Salvation Army has increased the number of turkeys it plans to prepare from 60 to 90, and regular donors such as Schnucks, Hutson's Furniture and River Radio have increased their gifts to cover the increased demand, he said. "We have been wonderfully donated. We believe we are right at the point now where we have enough."

The annual coats giveaway will also take place Thursday and the Salvation Army has almost 3,000 coats and about 1,000 other items of warm clothing ready, he said.

There is no requirement to partake in the meal other than being hungry, he said, and the coats will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis as well.

To volunteer as a driver or make any kind of donation, contact the Salvation Army at 335-7000. People wanting meal delivery on Thursday should also call that number for assistance, Stillwell said.

For more information, check back at semssourian.com or read Wednesday's Southeast Missourian.

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