Volunteers serve 900 pounds of turkey during Salvation Army's an - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Volunteers serve 900 pounds of turkey during Salvation Army's annual dinner

From the moment doors opened, everyone who made their way inside Neil S. Blaisdell Center on Thanksgiving morning was greeted like family.  

"From keiki to kapuna. From tourists to homeless people on the street. It's amazing who shows up," said Salvation Army divisional commander John Chamness.

Nearly 2,000 people enjoyed live music as they got to know their neighbors. Everyone was eager to dig in.

"I'm looking forward to that turkey," said attendee Dennis Jones.

Hundreds of volunteers passed out plates making sure guests had exactly what they needed. Bruce Naluai has donated his time every year for the past five years.

"I like to start my holiday season here. I always feel like I'm in the right place," said Naluai.

As diners indulged, food was the last thing on Robert Stillwell's mind. The 89-year-old has been involved with the Salvation Army all his life and makes it a point never to miss this gig.

"It's a wonderful feeling to have Thanksgiving and share it with other people," said Stillwell.

That feeling seemed to transcend generations. As 8-year-old Ryann Fechner patiently waited for a slice of pumpkin pie she explained how special this meal is to her family.

"We've just come here so many times. It feels very welcoming to us," said Fechner.

For some this day was a time to reflect. Giving thanks for people who lent a hand when they were down.

"The Salvation Army's helped me. Institute for Human Services has helped me. Hale Mauliola on Sand Island has helped me and now I've been in Housing First for three years. And I'm sober," said Ricky Crowell.

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