KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An annual holiday tradition returns this year.

The Kansas and Western Missouri Salvation Army’s Thanksgiving Day meal returned in-person for 2022. The pandemic prevented it from being served face-to-face for two years.

The nonprofit had presented in-person Thanksgiving meals for four decades until COVID-19 forced the change to meals to-go.

“This is not just giving food here. It’s community,” Salvation Army Maj. Kelly Collins said.

“There are people who are in need and cannot feed their families or feed themselves and will be by themselves for the first time, and will find a place of refuge here where they’ve not needed it before.”

The meal is back and it was held in a new location. The Salvation Army moved this feast at the Linwood YMCA, where there’s space to serve as many as 350 in person, in addition to the 600 or so that will pick up food to go.

“Every year, I usually come up. I like coming, for some reason, in person,” Renee Moore, who regularly attends this gathering, said. “Even though I cook at home, I’m still thankful. I’m thankful to come out and be amongst people.”

“The most important part it symbolizes to me is family, and being here with strangers, but we’re still together. Being thankful and being grateful and being able to be around other people,” Thomas Griffin, another regular attendee, said.

The Westin Crown Center donated and prepared food for the meal, according to the Salvation Army.

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