Salvation Army serves less fortunate with holiday meal

Salvation Army serves less fortunate with holiday meal

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Loneliness can take a toll on Christmas Day, when people around the world are spending time with family. It's a void the Salvation Army in Tucson hoped to fill with their annual Christmas meal.

Many of those who attend appreciate the efforts. "It makes me feel like there's people that care," said Sonja Maenpaa, who indulged in the holiday meal. This year she is celebrating having a roof over her head. Last year at this time, she was homeless.

But it's the Christmas spirit that drew her back in to the Salvation Army's event this year. Maenpaa received one of the 14,000 meals served by the organization to those without a home to go to this holiday.

Two hundred volunteers did their part this Christmas. One of them, David Elver, volunteered with his family Monday morning. 
"It really makes you think about how blessed you are. I think that's the meaning of the holidays to serve those who are less fortunate than yourself. Just makes you realize how blessed you are and how thankful for the holiday season," he said.

'Doing the most good' may be the Salvation Army's motto, but some locals will tell you kindness runs strong everywhere in the Old Pueblo.

"People say they hate Tucson but I've done nothing but really enjoy it here," explained April Rinehart.

The annual holiday meal is the cherry on top to the Army's holiday campaign.  The organization attributes a lack of volunteers as a major factor in their annual bell-ringing campaign. They anticipate to hit last year's total of half a million dollars, but officials with the organization say they were expecting more for 2017. No official totals have been released.