SAN FRANCISCO - The San Franscisco Salvation Army handed out more than 4,800 meals this Christmas.
On Christmas morning, hundred of volunteers rolled up their sleeves, loaded up, and hopped on Santa's sliegh to spread Christmas cheer in the City, one hot holiday meal at a time.
"We just try and let them know we love them and that’s what the Salvation Army does," said Major Matthew Madsen of the Salvation Army.
He's talking about the Christmas meal delivery program, which is a Salvation Army tradition. But, this holiday volunteers delivered a record 4,800 meals, a thousand more than last year.
"We’ve seen a need, from the pandemic, get so much so much larger," Madsen said. "COVID is trying it’s best to stop us, but we’re not giving up."
The Salvation Army changed some of its plans this year to acoomodate CDC guidelines and make sure everyone stayed safe. Instead of preparing meals in the Salvation Army central kitchen, like they've done for decades, they enlisted the help of a local caterer.
"In years past we were elbow to elbow cutting turkeys and hams. We can’t do all of that stuff this year. We want to protect the people that are volunteering, we also want to protect the people that we’re serving," Madsen said.
Voluneers, in mask, were asked to follow CDC guidelines while making deliveries, even coordinating with some facilies, where meals were distirbuted by management.
For those on the recieving end, it's a special Christmas miracle that provides more than a warm meal.
"The smiles, even though it’s behind a mask, the smiles may be the only person that they see on Christmas and we still want to keep that personal contact there in that capacity,"said Madsen.
If you donated to the Salvation Army this year, this is your donation dollars at work.
For the first time in 130 years, the Salvation Army launched its "Rescue Chistmas Fundraising" campaign, helping programs like this one get off the ground during the pandemic, brining joy to us all this holiday season.