JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - While the coronavirus pandemic has changed how many are spending their Thanksgiving Day, dozens of volunteers with the Salvation Army of Jackson spent a few hours this morning giving back to people they may never meet.
For more than twenty years, the Salvation Army has cooked hundreds of meals for those less fortunate in the Capital City.
This year, nearly eighty volunteers made that possible, less than half of the manpower they usually have.
The reduction in workers came because of social distancing concerns from the coronavirus pandemic.
Madison resident Samantha Smith and her daughter volunteered their time for the first time this year.
“I think the amazing thing is that it’s not a group of people that you even know, so for it to mesh so well with people...we literally just signed up last night,” Smith said. “We didn’t know anything about it, we signed up, we came in, and we just went to work.”
Jackson Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes sees it as a way for these Mississippians to give back at a time when so many are struggling.
“For some people, there’s no food. There’s no family, there’s no love. And that’s what we try to do. We try to provide the food from Salvation Army, we try to provide the love that God gives to us and to them and we try and let them know they part of our family,” Stokes said.
He picked up 300 plates to take to people throughout the community, including those working the holiday at the Jackson Police Department.
Over the course of two hours, people of all ages packaged 1,500 meals to send to nursing homes, senior centers and homeless shelters.
“We operate on a faith basis. We believe you can’t out-give God, so whatever the need is, we’re going to meet it, and we just trust God to take the loaves and fishes and multiply, which is what he did today and what he’ll do even this Christmas season,” said Salvation Army Maj. Robert Lyle.
In the meantime, Smith said she’ll keep volunteering her time, and hopes this year’s example will show her daughter how good it feels to be of service to others.
“If you could put yourself in someone else’s shoes, to say, in the worst case scenario, what would I want someone else to do for me? To me, it’s just enough to do for others,” Smith said.