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Salvation Army serves turkey dinners at Thanksgiving meal

November 23, 2005|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN

karenh@herald-mail.com

Donna Kline stocks shelves in a store at night, but she said she struggles to put food on the table during the day.

"You got to accept life for what it is, you can't sit around and brood," the 62-year-old Hagerstown woman said Tuesday as she ate pumpkin pie at The Salvation Army in Hagerstown.

The Salvation Army served about 140 pounds of turkey and 40 pounds of stuffing during its annual Thanksgiving community lunch, cook Helena Miller said. The West Franklin Street center usually serves between 80 and 100 meals a week, Miller said.

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"I've been doing this about ... this is my seventh year, and I would say this is the biggest crowd I've had," Miller said.

According to Miller, many of the people who ate Tuesday's Thanksgiving meal would otherwise have no holiday dinner. Others come for the companionship, she said.

For Kline, the meal provided both good company and good food.

"This is my good friend, she's as poor as I am or maybe poorer," Kline said, laughing as she wrapped her arm around a younger woman next to her. The two work the third shift together, Kline said.

"It's no sin being poor, just unhandy," Kline said as she smiled and laughed between bites of food.

According to Major Butch Mallard, The Salvation Army in Hagerstown has served a Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings for about 30 years. Last year, 119 people ate at the center, he said.

While five people normally help out at The Salvation Army, Mallard said Tuesday about 40 volunteers turned out.

Students from Grace Academy in Hagerstown helped keep people's Styrofoam cups of tea full, and they served food from the kitchen.

"We passed out food, we gave out entertainment by laughing, making people happy," seventh-grader Elizabeth Swindells, 12, said as she and a friend waited to distribute food.

Twenty-one Grace Academy students in grades 7 through 12 volunteered to spend part of their day at The Salvation Army, said Swindells and her friend Gabriella Durr, 12, who wore matching gray, camouflage pants and stood with their arms on each other's shoulders.

Kline said she is thankful for The Salvation Army's help.

"Poor people ain't lazy, it's just hard to find a job that pays enough to pay the rent. If you pay all your other bills, most of the times, it's hard to pay for food, so that's where The Salvation Army comes in," Kline said.

Kline said she is happy for what she has.

"That I'm alive, I'm thankful for a lot of things. I don't got a lot, but I'm thankful for what I have because there's people worse off than I am .. Just to have your health is No. 1," she said.

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