By Tori Mason
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – The Salvation Army hosted its annual Community Thanksgiving Meal, complete with all the trimmings at no charge.
Nearly 7,000 pounds of food were served at the Salvation Army’s Thanksgiving Dinner, a longstanding tradition with a greater need every year.
More than 200 volunteers served roasted turkey and the traditional thanksgiving sides, donated by King Soopers and City Market.
“It’s an opportunity for people in the community to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal as a family, or if they can’t afford a meal they come in and they get it,” said Divisional Youth Secretary Dan Whipple
The Salvation Army had help preparing this year’s feast from the Denver Sheriff’s Department and the Broncos.
In Englewood, dinner was served with a side of dignity. Thanksgiving was on the house at Cafe 180.
“I sometimes am on the streets. This is more like a restaurant to me,” said Steve Allen, a regular at Cafe 180.
The pay-what-you-can café gave guests in need a sense of normalcy, providing gourmet food and a restaurant-style environment for free.
“We believe that everyone should be served with dignity and respect and delicious food. We like to keep it clean and looking like a restaurant,” said Sarah Lesyinski, Executive Director at Cafe 180.
Like the Salvation Army, the pay-what-you-can café doesn’t charge for thanksgiving, but you wouldn’t know who couldn’t afford it.
“There are people in Mercedes, people in shopping carts and virtually anybody in between,” said Jim Fike.
Regulars like Steve and Jim pay for their food in time, volunteering one hour in exchange for a meal.
“Everybody is on an even playing field here. It levels everybody out,” said Fike.
They’re thankful for that sense of normalcy, and that’s what keep them coming back
“Status symbols aren’t really status symbols here. It’s just somebody else coming in for a good meal,” said Fike.