Two thousand people lined up at the San Diego Civic Center today for the Annual Salvation Army Christmas Feast. The event was just one of several around the county spreading the holiday spirit.
Those facing tough times were escorted to their tables as the band played traditional songs.
Arielle Kovacs, who has been volunteering since she was a young child, loves her family’s annual Christmas activity.
“It's great to be able to give back and it's great to be able to spend time with our family in a way that's meaningful to the community,” Kovacs said. “And it's a lot of fun to be able to, where else can you be around 2000 people that are stoked about Christmas.
The meal included 800 pounds of turkey, 400 pounds of mashed potatoes and 40 gallons of gravy. Volunteers prepare the feast for this special event each year like they have for almost 30 years.
“Most volunteers that it's their first time, they're surprised that it looks like a professional really nice dinner. And a lot of times, guests feel the same way,” Kovacs said.
Children eagerly awaited Santa's arrival after the meal, when they would each get one present.
In Hillcrest, volunteers focused on feeding military families at Operation Christmas Dinner, a tasty potluck of gourmet proportions at the Fig Tree Cafe.
“Local restaurants, many of them and breweries each chef creates an item,” said Operation Christmas Dinner organizer Mike Spradley.”We put this collective dinner together for our men and women in uniform.”
It's the second year for the event that was originally held for wounded soldiers. Organizers hope others will take part in the North County so families won't have to travel so far.
“They appreciate us taking time, closing the restaurant to the public and just opening for them,” Fig Tree Café co-owner Johan Engman. “And that's what it's all about to actually see the smiles on their faces.”