Salvation Army's annual luncheon provides Thanksgiving meals

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Calls for more turkey, corn and mashed potatoes rose from volunteers has they readied meals at the Salvation Army's annual Thanksgiving luncheon.

The Salvation Army partnered with People Assisting the Homeless, or PATH, to provide Thanksgiving meals to community members on Nov. 25 at Sycamore Park Community Center.

"We did not put a restriction or anything like that. We want people to come and just be a part of it. It's a celebration of this community, this Four Corners area," said Lt. Christopher Rockwell, the Corps Officer with the Salvation Army Farmington Corps.

In a large room next to the kitchen, Jacque Payne checked carryout food containers to make sure each had servings of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes with brown gravy, corn, cranberry sauce and a croissant.

Payne is a first-time volunteer at the luncheon. She joined her son, daughter-in-law and granddaughters to serve food and to wait on community members.

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Russell Lewis gives mashed potatoes to his daughter, Enuriya Lewis, 1, at the Salvation Army's annual Thanksgiving luncheon on Nov. 25 at Sycamore Park Community Center in Farmington.

"I'm grateful we're able to help people who are less fortunate get a good, hot meal," she said.

This was Elijah Miera's third time supervising volunteers in the kitchen.

"Cooking is my superpower," Miera said. "We're giving them good meals."

While the luncheon helped community members observe the holiday, it also helps remind residents that the Salvation Army still has a presence in Farmington.

Rockwell said with the closure of the Farmington Salvation Army thrift store in October, some thought the organization had left the area.

At left, Kiara Charley and Jolonzo Goldtooth visit while waiting for community members to arrive at the Salvation Army's annual Thanksgiving luncheon on Nov. 25 at Sycamore Park Community Center in Farmington.

That is far from the truth, he said adding the Salvation Army continues to operate and to fulfill its mission.

"We are a church first and foremost before a thrift store and we want to make sure that everybody knows we have a ministry here where we can help people," Rockwell said.

Volunteers have been in preparation mode all week. Turkeys were collected from the T's for Turkeys, a project between iHeartMedia stations and the Salvation Army Farmington Corps, on Nov. 18. The event acquired 57 turkeys.

The City of Farmington offered the community center as space for dine-in services and to-go meals.

"It's very vital because people may not be able to get this nourishment both physically, emotionally and spiritually," Rockwell said in response to a question about how critical the luncheon is to the community.

Those who ate their meals on-site inside the gymnasium sat at tables with fall decorations and listened to holiday music.

"It's encouraging. It demonstrates community," Amanda Lobato, executive director of PATH, said about the number of people who volunteered.

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Meals included turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce at the Salvation Army's annual Thanksgiving luncheon on Nov. 25 at Sycamore Park Community Center in Farmington.

The luncheon is one event the Salvation Army Farmington Corps holds during the holiday season. The red kettle campaign is underway at various stores and the angel tree program, which helps provide Christmas gifts for children, will start in December.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at

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