SAN DIEGO — Like many events in 2020, the annual Salvation Army holiday meal looked a lot different than past years — instead of the traditional Christmas feast at Golden Hall, the Salvation Army turned to takeout.
Around 1,500 meals were handed out across San Diego county, but the new takeout style wasn’t the only thing different.
“I was just in the neighborhood,” said Judah Caviness, who stopped by to pick up a warm, free meal for the first time in years.
“Yeah, everything (is) tough. Some people are doing worse, some people who had jobs; lost probably more than I have,” he added.
Caviness said it has been tough not being able to see family often, not to mention the financial strain due to the pandemic that many people are feeling. And he’s not alone. Lt. Col. Lee Lescano said the Salvation Army has been seeing a lot of unfamiliar faces this year.
“We’ve seen people that we’ve never seen before that have needed help for the first time this year,” Lescano said. He said food pantry giveaways are up 300 percent.
Luckily, there are still die-hard volunteers who are willing to donate their time to those who need help the most.
“Fortunately, we live in beautiful San Diego, so we’re able to do this outside, which of course makes it a lot safer,” said volunteer Sarah Carey.
Many volunteers said the events actually help them more than they could help others.
“It’s the act of giving that really fills us up inside,” Carey said.