TUCSON (KVOA) - For 36 years the Salvation Army has been preparing and serving Thanksgiving meals in Tucson.
It's prepared by volunteers, and it's made possible through donations.
This year, however, was a little different. Instead of a sit-down meal at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, it was a drive-through and walk-up event.
It was still the same great food but due to pandemic and social distancing people had to drive through the church parking lot to get their meal. Or they could walk up, and get their hot meal Laura Lopez told News 4 Tucson, "I think it's a great idea. We were in the neighborhood to donate some clothes so we decided to stick around."
For many, it's their first time they've attended a Salvation Army meal. Richard Beaudin said he usually celebrates with friends but due to COVID-19, they're not having their usual gathering.
"Even if they had it, I probably wouldn't go even though I feel they are safe. I'd sooner be safe than sorry."
Salvation Army Captain David Oh said also due to COVID donations were down. "It's been a little bit tough because of the pandemic usually we receive over 1,000 turkeys…This year 300."
This year the Salvation Army is expected to serve about 700 people. So, volunteers have been at it for the last couple of days preparing the turkeys and the side dishes.
All under the watchful eye of Tim Grimes, a 25-year volunteer…"This is about community and the community coming together to make it happen."
Donations are also welcome Mayfield Florist has been donating flowers for the last couple of decades just to bring some joy to others.
And it's the joy of giving that keeps volunteers like Noel Desilets and his family coming back every year.
"It becomes addictive when you have the opportunity to serve the community. You want to do more of it. So, we expanded from Christmas to Thanksgiving, to Easter breakfast."
The family has been at it for 15 years.
Even as challenging as this pandemic has been, people said they are thankful for what they have and for what the Salvation Army does to help those in need.
The Salvation Army is now looking at serving the Christmas meal. They are looking for donations of turkey and ham.