For the first time in a long while, Salvation Army locations across Minnesota are not serving walk-in Thanksgiving dinners because of the COVID pandemic. Spokesman Dan Furry says instead this time…

“We’re able to have two thousand frozen turkeys donated by Jennie-O Turkeys, and we’re distributing those turkeys along with our food boxes the week that led up to Thanksgiving.”

Furry says they’re also providing Thanksgiving meals to those in Salvation Army residences, but they have to take them back to their rooms or apartments.

The Salvation Army says demand for help has been “enormous,” with many families and individuals struggling financially because of the pandemic. Spokesman Dan Furry:

“When the pandemic first started, 40 percent of the folks that were coming to us had never been to a foodshelf before, had never had the need.”

Furry says “fabulous donors” have stepped up to assist, but the Salvation Army still needs a lot of help from the community-at-large.

The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign is underway across Minnesota, but spokesman Dan Furry says they have serious concerns about the pandemic’s effect and could see a 50-percent drop in donations:

“We’re seeing fewer volunteers sign up, which means we have fewer bellringers. We have fewer locations, because some locations either have gone out of business or they’re just uncomfortable having kettles out front with the issue of the virus.”

…plus they also expect less foot traffic. Furry says every kettle location will have digital “contactless” options to contribute, or you can text RESCUE to 24365 (as in 24-hours a day, 365 days a year). Furry says the Salvation Army believes those who want to help their neighbors in need will step up, one way or another.