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'Huge Difference' For Salvation Army Christmas Dinner In Phoenix

After more than 30 years of serving Christmas dinners in Phoenix, the Salvation Army is forced to make big changes due to COVID-19.

Instead of being greeted, seated and served at a table with linens and silverware, guests will have to walk through a socially distanced line to grab a hot meal to go. Major Butch Frost with the the Salvation Army says the change is also disappointing for people who normally volunteer.

“There’s a gratification in being engaged and being involved and being able to help people that are coming in, that are wanting to have interaction, that are wanting to have fellowship,” he said.

Since there is no dine-in option, that means there’ll be none of the activities guests have enjoyed in past years.

“There’s a huge difference this year,” Frost said. “There would be opportunities for individuals to get hair cuts, to get games, there was movies, there was things going on throughout the whole facility and this year it’s all cut completely back.”

The Salvation Army expects to serve around 9,000 meals at the Convention Center’s South Building on Christmas, roughly 3,000 more than last Christmas. The group will also deliver meals to people who are unable to leave their homes or uncomfortable going out during the pandemic. Frost said the Salvation Army Phoenix is looking for volunteersto drive their own vehicles to make homebound deliveries.

Christmas Day meal service will begin at 10 a.m. and continue until meals run out. Walk-up service will be available at the South Building at 100 N. Third St., (southeast corner of Washington Street and Third Street). Contactless drive-thru pickup will be available at the South Building loading dock, which is on the east side of the building, off Fifth Street.

Frost said they have 4,000 pounds of turkey, 2,900 pounds of potatoes, 1,900 pounds of stuffing, 1,500 pounds of vegetables, 900 pounds of cranberry sauce, 140 gallons of gravy, 9009 rolls and 9000 slices of pie.

News Business
As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.