KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- People flocked to the Linwood Salvation Army Thursday for great food and great fellowship. Everyone who stopped by had a story to tell, even the volunteers.
Randy Bell has been volunteering for the Salvation Army on Thanksgiving and Christmas for 24 years. He starts cooking at 5 a.m. and knocks out 2,500 meals for people who need to be fed.
“This is family, after 24 years," Bell said. "I wouldn't know what I would do if I didn't see some of the old timers.
Judy Bosshard is one of those old timers, as Bell calls his co-volunteers. She was a volunteer before he was, and they have forged a tight bond.
"I am just so glad to see him, and he has been through so many hard times, and he is making it," Bosshard said.
Three years ago doctors told Bell he had an inoperable brain tumor. But after a year of chemotherapy and 30 radiation treatments, the tumor is now stable.
Bell said despite suffering seizures and a stoke, he won't give up on himself or the people he serves.
"They are like, 'Why do you still come?'” Bell said. “I was like, 'Why not, I ain't dead yet.'"
Bell's unwavering kindness has rubbed off on his children, who now serve beside him. Joe Bell, 17, has been coming to the Salvation Army with his dad for five years.
"I feel like it is harder in the world to spread love than hate, and anything we can do to spread that, especially during the holidays is the best,” the younger Bell said. “And being here with my dad, there is nowhere else I would rather be."
While the folks at the Salvation Army don't host people at their location on Linwood, they do take Thanksgiving meals to people who can't get there. This year they served about 800 people in their homes. They also feed the homeless so everyone has full bellies on this day of blessings.