September 22, 2023


Salvation Army partners with organizations to host Thanksgiving meal for community on Nov. 24

The Salvation Army in Newton wants to let community members know they are part of the family. And as members of the family they are entitled to a hot and filling Thanksgiving meal and having the privilege to be surrounded by good company on the holiday that promotes togetherness.

In celebration of this upcoming holiday, the Salvation Army has organized a community Thanksgiving meal from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 24 at its headquarters, 301 N. Second Ave. E., in Newton. Guests and their families are encouraged to call ahead of time at 641-792-6131 to reserve their spots at the table.

Captain Tim North said folks can either dine in or take home their traditional Thanksgiving meals, which has been partly provided by other entities — like Sacred Heart, the United Way and DMACC — as well as gracious volunteers in the community. A local pitmaster has even opted to smoke 10 turkeys for guests.

“Everybody is jumping in and coming together … Lots of community members have called and said, ‘Hey can I help?’ So it’s coming together,” North said. “There’s going to be potatoes and gravy and I think sweet potatoes and green bean casserole. The whole thing!”

In the past the Salvation Army has offered meal boxes to families, which would come with the typical Thanksgiving fixings and a whole turkey. Staff anticipated the price of turkeys would be too high this year and they worried they would not get enough Butterballs to meet demand, prompting another approach.

Providing the meal already cooked also eliminates any possible barriers for people who either do not know how to properly cook a turkey or don’t have all the kitchen equipment necessary to prepare the meal. North said the organization also thought of people who are living by themselves for Thanksgiving.

“It gives them some fellowship and it gives them a nice hot meal that they don’t have to do,” North said. “We wanted to think of those people who are alone. Here’s a spot and a couple hours. Come sit at the table and enjoy the people around you so you don’t have to be alone on Thanksgiving.”

Kelly Zach, case manager for the Newton Salvation Army, has always wanted the Salvation Army to host community meals. She said she is personally looking forward to the event and plans on bringing her family. Volunteers have also been tracked down to deliver or serve meals, which makes Zach especially thankful.

“I think it’s going to bring a lot of community enhancement because people are actually going to sit and enjoy themselves and talk to each other,” she said of the Thanksgiving feast. “I’ve looked at that for a long time and always wanted us to do something like that. I’m looking forward it.”

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig has a strong passion for community journalism and covers city council, school board, politics and general news in Newton, Iowa and Jasper County.