Volunteers spend Thanksgiving Day serving hundreds of free meals on Dauphin Street

Each year, The Salvation Army ensures people get a hot Thanksgiving meal- and this year is no different.
Updated: Nov. 24, 2022 at 9:00 PM CST
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - While many folks gather at the dinner table for Thanksgiving, others are dedicating their holiday to serve others.

The Salvation Army is ensuring people get a hot Thanksgiving meal in the Port City-- and it’s all-hands-on-deck.

“Oh, it’s wonderful,” said Rodney Lott. “Everybody is so nice and the food is good. It’s great. I am just happy to be here.”

Lines of cars are filled with eager folks ready to take home a free Thanksgiving meal-- complete with all the traditional fixings.

“We do- every year- a Thanksgiving feeding for the community and we’re preparing for a lot of people to come through. In fact, we prepared over 1200 meals to prepare for today. It’s just a rough time of year for everybody, so it gives us the opportunity to do a little service today,” explained Cpt. Trey Jones, Area Commander for the Coastal Alabama Salvation Army.

Jones says this undertaking wouldn’t be possible without its many volunteers.

“We’ve got an outpouring of volunteers-- and the 1200 meals that we’re serving is actually about a 20 percent increase than what we’ve done in the previous years. We’re noticing that in all of our programs-- so we tried to prepare a little bit extra this time,” added Jones.

Meanwhile, inside the building, some recline at the dinner table. Strangers become friends over a shared meal.

“It’s a wonderful feeling,” said Lott. “These people here are homeless-- but they’re really nice people. If they could just get a little more help-- it would be nice to get them out.”

For one mother and daughter, serving at this annual event is a long-standing, family tradition.

“It’s special because I feel like it has kind of taught my kids that it’s not about us- it’s about helping other people and doing the right thing,” said Julie Dismukes.

“I appreciate the people here, too, because everybody is so kind,” chimed in Julie’s daughter, Jayli. “It helps a lot, too- just being around all these people- it’s awesome. They’re all so, so nice.”

Lott says he’s been attending the Thanksgiving luncheon for 7 years, and that he’s thankful for the Salvation Army’s influence in the community.

“I’m kind of homeless right now, but I am staying here. These people are wonderful and good to you- and it’s easy to do the program here,” stated Lott.

The event concluded at 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

The Salvation Army says they’re always looking for volunteers, especially during the holiday season. If you or someone else you know is interested in serving with the Salvation Army, you can click the link here.

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