MILWAUKEE — The Salvation Army’s 31st annual Christmas Family Feast was in full swing Friday, as volunteers served hot meals and gave out warm clothing, presents, and more to families in need.
"We never know the situation or what someone is going through, so it’s super important to get out here every year no matter what. It’s just a good opportunity to give back to the community every year and I have a blast doing it," said Salvation Army volunteer Ajeanette Gordon.
However, the family feast looked a lot different this year. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, what normally would be a sit-down meal with nearly 8,000 people inside the Wisconsin center, turned into a takeout and pickup-only event.
"We’re doing to-go boxes, we’re doing toys, we’re doing it wrapped up, we’re doing it in gloves you got plexiglass that’s here," said Major Steven Woodard, Milwaukee County Coordinator.
Despite the changes, the event's goal to provide a day of food, fun, and fellowship remained the same.
Even though I live alone, and even though we can’t fellowship like we did before it’s still a way of connecting. It's still good to see that this is still going on. Next year we hope it'll be a lot different and it will be back to the way it was before," said one participant, Kevin J. Walker.
But ultimately, the event allowed members of the Salvation Army to share their message to those in need to remind them that they're not alone.
"We love you and you have not been forgotten especially in a year like this," said Woodard.
Members of the Salvation Army said they prepared meals to feed nearly 4,000 people this Christmas. If you’re interested in donating to the Salvation Army’s cause, you can do so by visiting their website at Salvation Army.org.