The day was cold and dreary, but the meals were hot and ready to go to whoever might want one.
The Salvation Army and a cadre of volunteers served up well over Thanksgiving meals on Thursday
“It’s actually been going really well, said Gina Halverson, a Salvation Army officer.
She said shortly before 1 p.m. that more than 400 of about 600 meals had been distributed.
That effort had help from the Salvation Army congregation, AmeriCorps, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, community volunteers, the Glory Hall, Smokehouse Catering, longtime turkey-smoker Dick Hand and others, Halverson said.
“It was a huge collaboration,” said Shane Halverson, also a Salvation Army officer.
Organizers said the annual meal distribution is a Juneau tradition that’s happened for over 30 years, although an exact number is murky.
For the past two of those 30-odd years, meal distribution has primarily been done through a walk-up or drive-up model with volunteers also delivering batches of meals to groups. The change was made because of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to avoid large groups in tight quarters.
Shane Halverson said the practice from last year meant that the drive-up/walk-up model was relatively smooth. Additionally, since this year’s event was held in front of the Salvation Army Family Store and Donation Center, Gina Halverson said people were already used to driving through to make donations. Last year, the Salvation Army cantina parked in front of the Downtown Transit Center.
Despite the developed routine, the Halversons said they hope that 2021’s event is the last one to primarily take place outdoors —
“We hope to go inside next year,” Shane Halverson said. “It kind of loses that family touch.”
• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt