Holiday meal looks a bit different

In a year that has included finding new ways to provide services, the Odessa Salvation Army has continued to do just that. This year, one of those ways will be an inaugural Christmas Dinner that will be put on at the shelter.
“In the past years, we’ve done cookies with Santa where Santa would come in and have him help us distribute cookies and hot chocolate and games,” Odessa Salvation Army Captain Juan Gomez said. “This year, we’re not able to do that. Like our Thanksgiving meal, we decided to have a nice, home-style meal in our shelter. We’ll have ham cooked for that day and our shelter guests will come in and receive a gift bag and something that they can keep if they choose to.”
The event will start at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Odessa Salvation Army.
“We’ve never done this before,” Gomez said. “This year, we’re trying to adapt. On most holidays, we leave the shelter open all day so that those who don’t have somewhere to go, they at least have a place to stay.”
Even in a year that’s been filled with uncertainty from the pandemic and the economic losses people have faced, Gomez says, it’s been crucial for them to try and stay connected with people as much as they can, even with social distancing.
“In the past our focus has been drawn across the spectrum we’re working with our shelter guests,” Gomez said. “This year, we’re trying to continue to keep them all in mind as we try to adapt our service.”
Gomez says it won’t be too different from what the Salvation Army does on a daily basis when feeding people except that on Christmas, it’ll be more of a traditional holiday meal.
He’s not sure how many people they’ll have on Friday.
“On a daily basis, we expect to feed anywhere from 60-100 people,” Gomez said. “We would expect that on Christmas day. The difference is that on Christmas day, we expect the meal to be more home cooked. It’ll be a nicer meal in that instead of serving pasta. we’ll serve ham and some of the side dishes that you would see as well like we did with Thanksgiving.”