KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Salvation Army’s annual Christmas day dinner returned to in-person service on Sunday after a two-year break because of COVID.

Volunteers expected to feed 1,250 people through the in-person dinner, volunteer deliveries, and the organization’s homeless outreach program.

“You know to those people that need a hot meal it means a lot,” volunteer Michael Vrabac said.

“I think that they can certainly appreciate what the Salvation Army is doing for them and to be able to have it in a nice, festive atmosphere with a lot of people that are around serving and smiling faces.”

The people who received the meal were grateful for the meal and the volunteers who helped serve it.

“I really thank God for the meal, the volunteers and what everybody’s doing,” attendee Sylvester Callier said.

Sylvester grew up in Kansas City and was grateful to spend the day with his brother and new friends.

“I’m so thankful to be here today and God bless everybody, Merry Christmas and many more,” Sylvester’s brother, J.J., said.

Volunteers say it was great to see people in-person again, thankful to be around community.

“I talked to a gentleman this morning who’s here, his wife died five months ago, and Christmas is not the same for him,” Major Toni Dorrell with the Salvation Army said.

“And so, this is an opportunity for him to be with people, have a great meal, and be loved on.”