Thanksgiving Meal Serves Up a Sense of Community

Chef Don showing the Thanksgiving lunch served at the community meal
by juneli
Categories: Divisional News

By: June Li

Fellowship, love and compassion, that is what you will find when you visit The Salvation Army East Toronto Citadel’s community lunches. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, East Toronto hosted a free Thanksgiving lunch for those in the community. Between 12:00 – 1:00 p.m., anyone who needed a meal or wanted fellowship was invited for a hot meal.

Before the clock struck 12:00 p.m., members from the community were already taking their seats in the lunch room. Conversations and laughter filled the air as many anticipated for their Thanksgiving meal.  With the help of volunteers, Chef Don and long-time volunteer Tim served a delicious meal for over 120 guests.

“Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends,” says Maggie, Community Ministries Coordinator for East Toronto Citadel, “A majority of the individuals that attend our community meals have been abandoned by their family or are experiencing homelessness. By providing them with a Thanksgiving meal, they feel a sense of community.”

But all this couldn’t have been done without the dedication of their volunteers. For Tim, a semi-retired accountant, who has volunteered with The Salvation Army for over five years, the act of volunteering is more than just giving back. Rather it is about making a difference in the community. “I have been very fortunate and always had food on the table,” he explained, “The Salvation Army helped my grandfather when he emigrated here from Ireland. I wanted to make a difference to those who may need help just like how the Sally Ann helped my grandfather.”

“When I give a plate of hot food to someone who may have not eaten in days, and they smile at me, it makes everything worthwhile,” says Tim.

When people come to East Toronto Citadel’s community lunches, they aren’t only served a hot meal, but they are also welcomed with warm and loving arms. “Though it may seem like they are just getting a meal, they are getting much more than that,” says Maggie, “They come here and are treated with love and respect.”

Looking to give back this Thanksgiving holiday? Consider making a donation to your local Salvation Army food bank, making a donation online here or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY.