By TOM CALLIS
Tribune-Herald staff writer
Thanksgiving Day meals for the less fortunate are common offerings for charities and churches across the country during the holiday. And the Big Island is no different.
They offer a warm, hearty meal for those who may struggle to find food the rest of the year, as well as friendly company and a cheerful spirit.
The Salvation Army in Hilo is hoping to once again provide that and more this year, with their holiday lunch held today at Aunty Sally’s Luau House.
Guests will be treated to live music, skits performed by a travelling drama group, and instead of waiting in a food line, dozens of volunteers will be on hand to serve meals directly to the tables.
“We call it a banquet,” said Salvation Army Capt. Shoshannah Ruwethin. “We try to make it a little more special.”
The doors open at 10:30 a.m. with lunch served at noon.
Ruwethin said the Salvation Army served about 750 people last year and is expecting about the same turnout today.
Volunteers will also deliver about 250 meals to nursery homes, as well as police and fire stations.
Seventy-five turkeys will be served this year, she said, with more potatoes, yams, corn and pie than she could count.
Melody Parong, a member of the Salvation Army church, said volunteers begin preparing food at 7 a.m. The turkeys have already been cooked.
“It’s quite a bit of work,” she said. “But it’s a good labor — a labor of love.”
Parong said 10 volunteers will work in the kitchen but she estimated as many as 150 will have helped make the event happen. Help comes from the Hawaii Jaycees, Waiakea High School Interact Club, college students and others.
One turkey will be given away in a raffle, with about 30 neatly wrapped baskets of food as other prizes.
Email Tom Callis at email@example.com.