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Thanksgiving dinner brings unity at Burbank Salvation Army

Orlena Hart has been making the trip out to the Burbank Salvation Army from Van Nuys the last several years for the organization’s annual Thanksgiving dinner.

In addition to enjoying the food — a turkey dinner with stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce — she said she enjoys the treatment she receives from the staff and volunteers at the Burbank Corps, compared to elsewhere.

“It’s worth it. I like it better here,” she said. “At another place, I waited an hour and a half for food and never got my plate.”

Waiting times were not an issue at the local Salvation Army Wednesday evening as a steady stream of volunteers brought plates of food out to diners and quickly refilled cups of water and lemonade.

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Burbank Corps Lt. Jeremy Baker said the organization was ready to serve between 300 and 400 people with free dinners.

“The [Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport] graciously offered to cook our turkeys this year, and a large group of volunteers did the rest of the cooking,” he said.

Within an hour of the doors opening, more than 200 meals had been served.

Baker said the Salvation Army has received volunteer support from students and service organizations, such as the local Rotary and Kiwanis clubs.

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In addition to getting the food ready and setting up tables for diners, he said a significant amount of time was spent on getting information out about the event.

Sun Valley resident Angela Alamina found out about the dinner through a flier she saw at the Burbank Temporary Aid Center.

“For me, this dinner was a surprise,” she said. “They treat us like kings and queens.”

Ted Brown and Samuel Holmes also attended the dinner for the first time, thanks to the Burbank Salvation Army’s outreach efforts. The men live in the Burbank Veteran Bungalows off of West Verdugo and West Angeles avenues.

“This was fantastic, perfectly done,” said Holmes, who served in the Navy during the Vietnam War. “It brings a whole lot of unity; lots of people coming together just like the United Nations.”

Brown, who served overseas as part of the Army’s XVIII Airborne Corps, said the two were able to get their fill of turkey and pie.

Holmes added that when they come back next year, they’ll bring some friends.

“You don’t keep a good thing to yourself, that’s not the godly way of doing things,” he said. “When you see a blessing, you pass a blessing on.”

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Also at the Salvation Army was Burbank Councilwoman Sharon Springer, who helped serve food. Springer said she was thankful for being able to serve and interact with people during the dinner.

“It’s just great fun to help and serve these people, our fellow residents, Thanksgiving dinner,” she said. “This is my first time doing this event, and I’m really glad to be here.”

andy.nguyen@latimes.com

Twitter: @Andy_Truc


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