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Utah family marks 25 years volunteering at Salvation Army on Thanksgiving

Posted at 6:21 PM, Nov 25, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — Hundreds of volunteers spent their Thanksgiving holiday giving back to the community by delivering meals across the Salt Lake Valley for the Salvation Army.

“It’s, like, the one day we put all the other stuff away and we just focus on each other,” Salvation Army Captain Rob Lawler said.

For some families, volunteering their time in this way has become a Thanksgiving tradition.

“This is my favorite part of Thanksgiving. I like it more than the meal, which is saying a lot," volunteer Madi Thomas said with a laugh. “I am very, very blessed, and I feel like this is the least I can do.”

She is a member of the Cline family, which has now participated for 25 years.

“They are just amazing. I don’t know if we could do a thousand meals without them,” Lawler said.

The operation is coordinated and efficient, with volunteers in the kitchen cooking and packing the food.

Runners then take food out to a line of cars, which then drive them to the assigned homes of those in need.

While the families who take the time to help may not be at their own tables on Turkey Day, they indicated that doing this instead — giving back to and serving their community — is even more satisfying.

“I just feel like the joy I get from serving others is far greater than any joy I would get from digging into a pie or mashed potatoes and gravy or any of that good stuff,” Madi Thomas said. When asked if she will come back next year, she added: “Every year, man… I am going to come back with my kids. I am going to keep this going as long as possible.”

The Salvation Army holds a similar event on Christmas Day as well to help those in need.