Salvation Army plans for Thanksgiving dinner

A free Thanksgiving dinner open to the community will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thanksgiving Day at the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army welcomes anyone in the community to the event at its 107 W. State St. location in Marshalltown.

“Over the years it’s grown,” said Keith Lambertsen of the Salvation Army. “It’s become kind of a social event as opposed to just a dinner for people off the streets.”

Lambertsen said the Salvation Army is accepting turkey and ham donations for the dinner.

“We need turkeys if anybody has an extra one around the freezer or would just like to give one to us,” Lambertsen said. “We use about 35 turkeys to feed about 400 people.”

If extra turkeys are donated, they will go toward the Christmas food box for needy families in December.

Lambertsen also welcomes anyone who would like to volunteer.

“We have a lot of community volunteers that come if their family is not getting together until the weekend,” Lambertsen said. “A lot of the time the family or couples will come in to volunteer for an hour or two to help serve the meals and prepare pies and those kind of things.”

In addition to the dinner at the Salvation Army, carryout dinners will be offered.

“I have a group of volunteers that prepare the meals and take them out to these folks that either don’t have transportation or are disabled that have no way to get here,” Lambertsen said.

Lambertsen said anyone who wants a carryout dinner needs to call so they can plan for it.

The Thanksgiving dinner is a community effort. Hy-Vee, Fareway, Walmart and McDonald’s have donated to the dinner, Lambertsen said.

“The high school cooking class will bake about 50 pumpkin pies for us,” Lambertsen said. “The Rogers Elementary School kids art class makes the table mats for us and we put that out and it’s really cool. The kids make some pretty special artwork and it’s fun for the grandparents and the other folks to see that this is from the kids.”

Lambertsen said last year they served about 400 people and he expects the same amount this year.

“We hope for a great day and regardless we will be here and have meals to take out,” Lambertsen said.

Anyone who would like to volunteer or donate to the dinner is asked to call the Salvation Army office at 641-753-5236.