PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Thanksgiving will look a lot different inside the Phoenix Convention Center this year. The current health crisis has forced the Salvation Army to make some last-minute changes.

According to Salvation Army Program Coordinator David Yardley, they've had to cancel this year's sit-down dinner, along with all the fun and festivities that go with it. No free haircuts, no nail salon service, no live entertainment.

"It makes you a little sad because truly our holiday meals are a big celebration and an event, not just a dinner," said Yardley. "Our guests are treated so well; we will miss that, volunteers will miss that."

COVID-19 impact on Thanksgiving plans at Phoenix Convention Center

Even though visitors won't be able to share Thanksgiving dinner together this year, they can still come by for a traditional holiday meal. Tables have been set up to distribute boxed "to go" meals to everyone who stops by between 10 a.m. -12:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

"We're going to keep the line moving, but there will be social distancing with 6 feet by families," said Yardley. "We're going to keep them going, so when they get into the Convention Center, they simply walk, get a meal and go out a different exit."

Because of the Covid crisis, there are more families in need this year, which is why the Salvation Army was determined to find a way to keep the event going - even if it means - just picking up a hot meal.

"It is disappointing that we cant get together," said Dakota Gadsden, from Phoenix. "I think it's a lot better than getting sick or having something happen, so I think what they are doing is really, really good."

"The need is great, and we're just happy we're able to continue to serve, and the city has allowed us to do this," said Yardley.

The Salvation Army needs drivers to deliver Thanksgiving dinners to people who can't pick them up.

If you'd like to volunteer, click here.

Jason Barry is best known for his Dirty Dining Report which airs Fridays at 6:30 p.m. on CBS 5.  He is also the storyteller behind CBS 5's Pay It Forward which airs every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
 
 

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