PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — This Thanksgiving, the Salvation Army is bringing joy to thousands of Arizonans by offering free Thanksgiving meals. "She said, 'I'm going to go get turkey,' and I'm like, "I'm going too'," attendee Rose Mary Arriaga said.
The Thanksgiving holiday means a little bit more when you're with loved ones enjoying a warm meal. It's something many weren't able to do last year due to the pandemic. "The turkey is awesome," Arriaga said.
"Turkey and corn are great," one attendee said. "The turkey and mashed potatoes are good," another attendee said.
"Words cannot express how much this is needed in this time," attendee and volunteer Demarr Simon said. But this year, the Salvation Army is bringing back joy to Arizona. "It fills my heart. I am so thankful," Arriaga said.
Nearly 1,000 meals were given out to those who chose to gather inside the Phoenix Convention Center. Another 5,500 meals were picked up by people outside. "We have been waiting for two years to do this," David Yardley with the Salvation Army said. The event was pick-up only last year.
Between food, music and even services like haircuts and a prayer room, the Salvation Army credits the more than 900 people who volunteered their time throughout the last five days to make this event happen. "I love how appreciative they are," volunteer Candi Lewis said.
"We are definitely excited to celebrate with everyone today," volunteer Ken Clark said. "For me, it means family and friends and community."
People are walking away with a sense of togetherness this Thanksgiving with full stomachs and warm hearts. "Thank you so much. We really appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts," Arriaga said.
There are many ways to volunteer with the Salvation Army. If you are interested, click here.