Salvation Army cancels annual Thanksgiving meal

NILES — The Niles Salvation Army has decided to cancel its annual Thanksgiving program. The program, which would have taken place Nov. 22, is hosted annually in partnership with Michiana Christian Embassy to provide Thanksgiving meals to the community.

“As we have spent time researching and discussing how we would safely hold this program, we have come to the conclusion that the risk to our community, volunteers and staff is too great to conduct this meal,” said Niles Salvation Army Lt. Kendra Hixenbaugh. “We are heartbroken to have to make this decision, as we love this time of our community coming together and sharing a meal.”

Up until this point, Hixenbaugh said the Salvation Army has not had to cancel any of its community programs. Instead, it has risen to meet increased community need, which is why it saddens her that the Salvation Army has had to cancel its annual Thanksgiving meal.

“We are thankful that we have been able to safely provide pantry bags, hot meals, rental and utility assistance to those in need,” she said. “We cannot, in good conscience, even unintentionally risk exposing guests or volunteers.”

While the Thanksgiving event may be canceled, Hixenbaugh said community members in need can still receive pantry assistance from the Salvation Army or hot meals, which are served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Any community member looking to donate time or funds to support the Salvation Army during the holiday season is encouraged to participate in one of the organization’s other holiday campaigns.

“At this time, we are still in great need of volunteers for bell ringing and people to fill our angel tags,” Hixenbaugh said. “If you feel that you could help with either of these programs, please reach out to us at (269) 684-2660.”

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