Spirit of Thanksgiving
Salvation Army feeds hundreds

Dane Gibson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Oct 13/99) - More than 300 hungry Yellowknifers lined up at the Salvation Army on Monday to enjoy one the city's finest Thanksgiving spreads.

Salvation Army assistant executive director, Karen Hoeft, said a six-course meal isn't easy to prepare for that many people but, as usual, dozens of volunteers rolled up their sleeves and had everything ready for the hungry hordes.

"Thanksgiving is all about food so if you don't have food to eat on Thanksgiving, it's a pretty lousy day," Hoeft said as she stirred a huge pot of gravy.

"And we certainly don't want anyone having a lousy day on Thanksgiving," she added with a smile.

Hoeft said they cooked about 250 pounds of spuds, 100 pounds of carrots, and 15 turkeys. Not to mention the piles of corn, stuffing and desserts that rounded the meal off.

The work was hard but well rewarded by the grateful smiles and laughter that filled the room.

"I'm very thankful because right now, I have no home," said a middle-aged man who was just finishing up his feast.

"This is one of the best meals I've had in a long time. You can't cook much when you're living in a van."

Another mother of three, who wished to remain anonymous, hugged her son tightly as he happily stuffed a butter tart into his mouth.

"It brings me joy to see my kids enjoying such a fine meal," she said.

"This meal is very important to me. It brings friends together and for that, I'm very thankful."

A Salvation Army Thanksgiving feast couldn't get done without the help of volunteers. Everyone from Frame Lake MLA Charles Dent, who ensured the elevator didn't get too full, to students from St. Patrick high school pitched in to help.

"I'm retired and have lots of time so I came out today to help out," said volunteer Garry Burt.

"It makes you realize there are people out there with a lot less than I have. Contributing to something like this makes you appreciate what you have at home."