Salvation Army feeds 50 for Christmas, close to donation goal

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Salvation Army in Jonesboro works around the clock, 365 days a year to make sure some of the neediest in Region 8 do not go hungry.

But Major Eugene Gesner said Christmas is always special.

"They've had a little bit better meal than usual today and they get three of them because we don't make them get out on Christmas day," Gesner said.

The organization fed a hearty Christmas dinner of ham, vegetables and desserts to almost 50 people today.

"That's a little more than in the past, not a whole lot, but it's a lot more than we feed. Generally, the average on any given night during the winter is about 30," Gesner said.

Major Gesner said these people left not only with full stomachs, but full hearts, too.

"They're grateful about it and appreciate someone is helping them out during Christmas," Gesner said. "And that's really all we look for, you know. We're not asking them to make a big deal about it and we don't really like making it a big deal ourselves."

Gesner said that's what the Salvation Army is all about, helping people.

"It's always good to be able to make a difference, particularly around the holidays. A lot of people don't have a place to go and it's nice for them to just be able to drop in," Gesner said. "And that's what a lot of them are doing. Just dropping in for a place to have a meal and be with some other folks."

After all, Gesner said helping others is also what Christmas is all about.

"Jesus came to us in a manger in a stable and didn't have anybody much to help him out. And who knows, the old story, you never know, you might be entertaining angels unaware," Gesner said.

Gesner said the Salvation Army also witnessed the true spirit of Christmas with its kettle donations.

Last week, the organization was $17,000 behind last year's totals. On Christmas day, it got within $3,500 of the goal.

"We made up over $10,000 dollars worth the difference in just one weekend and a day and a half," Gesner said. "Jonesboro's a good place. They really are supportive of folks like us who help others."

Gesner said the biggest donation day was Christmas Eve. The Salvation Army received more donations in half of the day than it does in most regular full days.

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