SAN DIEGO — This Thanksgiving, non-profits across the county served hot meals for the needy, including the Salvation Army.
For 25 years, Adrienne Pierre has volunteered at the annual giveaway, saying she started helping out after a traumatic life experience.
"I remember 25 years ago, something happened in my family, and I am not going to let this day be remembered in that horrific way," said Adrienne Pierre.
Since then, Pierre has made it her mission to ensure anyone needing a hot meal will get that and much more.
"You never know what anyone is going through, whether a volunteer or a guest. So, for us to greet them with a smile, wish them a happy Thanksgiving, and wish them a blessed day. It might be the only friendly conversation they have that day, and to be able to uplift somebody warms my heart," said Pierre.
Pierre is one of dozens of volunteers who make this annual event happen, including San Diego's fire chief and the city’s police chief, David Nisleit.
“It's my way of giving back to the community. I bring my family out. We're very fortunate, very blessed, and it's my opportunity to come out and meet with the community, be out with the community, as I am part of the community, and help feed those not as fortunate as myself,” said Chief Nisleit.
The Salvation Army has been serving Thanksgiving meals for nearly 40 years.
For most of that time, it was held in Golden Hall.
But, the pandemic forced a cancellation in 2020.
It came back the following year, just in a different way.
"After Covid, we had to adjust. It's been great. We're now at four locations across the county. We'll serve nearly 2,000 people today," said Colonel Lee Lescano.
Those four locations are Downtown, Clairemont, El Cajon, and Oceanside.
Anyone wanting a warm Thanksgiving meal with all the fixings is welcome.
Colonel Lescano says in addition to people who have been coming here every year, for many, it's their first time.
"There are more homeless people, but also families who have just been on the edge, and with inflation and the economy, they're struggling," said Colonel Descano.
“It's fantastic. Otherwise, I wouldn't have anywhere else to go. I think its wonderful people are willing to come and spend their day helping people in need,” said Mary Reichert.
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