Holiday meal has been a Farmington tradition since 1984

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FARMINGTON — While many San Juan County residents spent Thanksgiving enjoying dinner with families, more than 1,000 community members ate their meal at the Farmington Civic Center.

Hundreds of volunteers helped serve more than 1,000 Thanksgiving meals today during the annual community dinner.

“We’re just looking forward to serving the community,” said Jolonzo Goldooth, a volunteer coordinator for Salvation Army.

The first Salvation Army Thanksgiving Dinner for the community was hosted in 1984. A couple of dozen volunteers served 169 people that year at the First Baptist Church located on Auburn Avenue near the Farmington Civic Center, according to The Daily Times archives.

Since then, the meal has grown in the number of volunteers and the number of meals served.

The event provides an opportunity for people who would otherwise not have a meal or who would be alone on Thanksgiving a chance to eat and enjoy conversation with community members.

A line had formed outside the Civic Center prior to the doors opening at 11 a.m. today.

Nancy Chester-Faust has been volunteering for the event for eight years, and she said each year she sees more volunteers.

“It gives them the chance as families to give back,” she said.

She said many parents bring their children to teach them about community service.

Chester-Faust said she volunteers because the Salvation Army took care of her when she needed help. She came to Farmington from Texas after losing everything during Hurricane Ike.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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