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    Needy Families Come Together To Give Thanks

    A crew of volunteers serves meals from the kitchen at the Salvation Army’s Thanksgiving Dinner. About 125 volunteers served a free traditional Thanksgiving meal to about 250 guests. Photo by Ricardo Tombac

    Clarissa Ruiz, 14 and Vanessa Cordero, 21, volunteers with the Rock Church in San Bernardino, serve pumpkin pie to the Salvation Army’s guests at Thanksgiving dinner. Clarissa and Vanessa have both volunteered three years in a row. About 125 people volunteered this year, preparing and serving a free Thanksgiving dinner to 250 guests. Photo by Ricardo Tombac

    Benjamin Hartnell from the San Bernardino Crossroads Rotary, and Terry Bryan a Scout Master from Troop 110 from Rialto washed pots and pans for several hours during the Salvation Army’s Thanksgiving Dinner. Photo by Ricardo Tombac

    Sandy and Mike Rowles hand out cold drinks to guests at the Salvation Army’s Thanksgiving dinner. The couple came from Fontana to volunteer. Photo by Ricardo Tombac

    Jeremy and Shannon Ellsworth and Eric and Stacy Bellinger, all from a Farmers’ Insurance office, relieved other exhausted volunteers at the Salvation Army’s Thanksgiving dinner. Photo by Ricardo Tombac

    (SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) The San Bernardino Corps of the Salvation Army served a Thanksgiving dinner to about 250 people on Thursday, Nov. 25.
    This annual Thanksgiving dinner is a community event involving more than 125 volunteers. Together they provide a traditional dinner of turkey, potatoes, gravy, stuffing, vegetables and pie.
    At one table a young family of five quietly enjoyed a full turkey and ham meal with all the trimmings.  The father said that “he is working full time, but only makes enough money to pay for the rent; without the Salvation Army, there wouldn’t be a Thanksgiving meal for his family.”
    Preparations for the meal start several days before Thanksgiving for kitchen volunteers.
    On Thanksgiving Day, more volunteers arrive, and are assigned various jobs and tasks.  Kitchen servers work in shifts while dining room crews taken on many responsibilities, such as greeting guests and serving them various courses of the meal.
    Among this year’s volunteers were Press-Enterprise editor Maria DeVarenne and her family.
    Volunteers Mike and Sandy Rowles went table to table with big pleasant similes, handing out cold drinks, showing their compassion and care.  This was their first year volunteering at the Salvation Army.
    Mike and Sandy’s children have grown up and are no longer living with them.  With their children living out of state, they decided to do something different for Thanksgiving, so they drove from Fontana to help out.
    Back in the kitchen, Benjamin Hartnell from the San Bernardino Crossroads Rotary, and Terry Bryan, a Scout Master with Troop 110 from Rialto willingly washed pots and pans non-stop for several hours.
    Two hours into this Thanksgiving meal, two couples from a Farmers Insurance office came to relieve some of the exhausted volunteers.  Jeremy and Shannon Ellsworth and Eric and Stacy Bellinger, decked out in their white aprons, took their turns serving the meal.
    Volunteers like these are already gearing up to do the same thing all over again on Christmas Day, Saturday, Dec. 25. As was true at Thanksgiving, anyone who comes to 746 W. Fifth St between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. can enjoy a traditional holiday meal of turkey, ham, stuffing, vegetables and desert.
    “Whatever people have on their heart to donate, we will serve,” said Hospitality House Director Roosevelt Carroll, who is coordinating the meal.
    At the Salvation Army, it’s not just giving out a meal a few times a year.  Corps Officers Stephen and Nancy Ball not only focus on people’s physical needs, but also tend to their spiritual needs every day.
    The San Bernardino Salvation Army has been serving the community since 1887 and has fed, sheltered and otherwise helped thousands of people each year.
    For help, or for more information, call (909) 888-1336.
    About the Salvation Army San Bernardino Corps
    The Salvation Army may be able to provide emergency services including food; lodging for homeless or displaced families; clothing and furniture; assistance with rent or mortgage and transportation when funds are available. The Salvation Army Team Radio Network assists rescue workers and evacuees in such disasters as fires.
    The Salvation Army is an evangelical part of the Universal Christian church and also offers evangelical programs for boys, girls and adults. One of the largest charitable and international service organizations in the world, The Salvation Army has been in existence since 1865 and in San Bernardino since 1887, supporting those in need without discrimination. Donations may always be made online at www.salvationarmyusa.org or by calling 1-(800)-SAL-ARMY.
    For local help, please call (909) 888-1336.


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