Thanksgiving meals dished out by volunteers
Nearly 300 people volunteered for meal at Civic Center organized by Salvation Army
FARMINGTON — Lt. Darla Malone of the Salvation Army was thankful for the nearly 300 volunteers who showed up to the Farmington Civic Center this morning to ensure members of the community could have a Thanksgiving meal.
It was Malone's first community Thanksgiving meal she has organized since joining the Farmington's Salvation Army branch at the end of the June.
"I'm really appreciative of my staff and the volunteers that have shown up," Malone said before the meal. "It's wonderful."
Before the doors were opened to the public, Malone led the volunteers in a prayer and told them Thanksgiving is about community, and it's important to help people in need.
After her speech, volunteers were sorted into groups to serve the meal, deliver plates to tables, collect trash from the tables and provide bottles of water.
Other volunteers were dubbed "conversationalists" by Malone. It was important for Malone to have volunteers at each table to talk with those attending the meal.
She wanted people who attend the meal to have someone to talk to because they might not have anyone at their home to eat with during the Thanksgiving holiday.
"Just to have someone to sit and talk with them, to me, that's what it's about," Malone said.
She believed about 800 to 1,000 meals would be served during the event for about 600 to 800 people.
The food was donated for the event by local organizations and businesses, which aided in the preparation of items including turkey, mashed potatoes and green beans.
More than 100 turkeys were donated for the meal with most of those turkeys prepared by the kitchen staff and inmates from the San Juan County Adult Detention Center, and the staff at the Si Senor restaurant.
Malone said she helped prepare a portion of the nearly 300 pounds of mashed potatoes being served.
Some of the donations included bread and desserts from the ECHO Food Bank, Lou Go's taxi service and Capacity Builders Inc.
Volunteers worked since Tuesday to debone the turkeys for the meal.
Some volunteers arrived at 7 a.m. today to work in the kitchen to start making the gravy and warming up the food, Malone said.
Hailing from Sun City, Calif., Dale Richey was in Farmington on a business trip and volunteered to work the meal.
"I had to take this trip, and I didn't want to miss out on Thanksgiving," Richey said.
Some of the entertainment during the meal included a performance by the Trinity Lutheran Church choir.
During the meal, Joe Torres and his daughter Victoria Torres dined on plates of food including turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and cranberry sauce. He said he believes it was generous for the Salvation Army to organize a meal for the community.
"It's a blessing to have something like this," Joe Torres said. "People out there don't have much to eat."
Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.