The Salvation Army continued its 30-year tradition of giving out Christmas meals Friday, but this year they handed out the 2,000 hot meals at three different sites around the county to ensure the safety of those participating.
Salvation Army Officer Major Dave Shull says the modified event actually allowed them to reach out to more people in neighborhoods they don’t traditionally get to serve as easily on Christmas Day.
“We’ve taken it from being in one central place and we split it up across the county and that way the people will keep in smaller numbers, people can be more socially distanced and we even reach people that are not able to go downtown for a meal, they can now come here and enjoy a meal,” he said.
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Air Force Veteran Dennis Gulyas told NBC 7 that he has spent the last eight Christmases alone. But says this year, the pandemic has left him even more isolated.
"It's hard. I'm on disability and I just don't get anymore visitors anymore so the loneliness hit me bad last night," Gulyas said.
This was the first time he attended the Salvation Army giveaway.
In addition to the hot meals, the Salvation Army also handed out stockings full of toys and snacks to children.