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Salvation Army, American Legion feed hungry in Parkersburg, Williamstown

The line for to-go meals Thursday at the Salvation Army on Fifth Street remained lengthy into the early afternoon. (Photo by Jenna Pierson)

PARKERSBURG — Organizations in Williamstown and Parkersburg came together on Thanksgiving Day to safely give back to the community by providing warm meals and holiday cheer despite the coronavirus barring large gatherings.

American Legion Post 159 in Williamstown kept busy by preparing and packaging about 150 meals for individuals and families.

“This is our 16th year doing the Thanksgiving dinner,” said Jeff Meeks, a volunteer at the Legion. “Most of the meals are for delivery, but we have a few people who will be picking up.”

Meeks hopes the Legion will be able to host the dinner and bring the community together under one roof next year, which he says is his favorite part of the festivities.

The American Legion served ham, turkey, sweet potatoes, green beans, dressing and desserts. Funding for the dinner was acquired through both donations from the community and the American Legion budget.

From left, volunteers Wendy Taylor and Lisa Merrow Thursday assemble containers of sweet potato casserole to be delivered with the meals and pick-up at American Legion Post 159 in Williamstown. (Photo by Jenna Pierson)

In Parkersburg, dozens of individuals stood in line starting around noon to receive a packaged to-go meal from the tents pitched in front of the Salvation Army. The distribution was in lieu of the normal gathering.

“This is my second year, and it’s amazing to see the support of the community and all the volunteers who come out and give up their time…” said Maj. Patrick Richmond, Parkersburg commander. “What a blessing it is to be able to share that with this community.”

According to Richmond, 468 meals were delivered throughout the community on Thursday morning, prior to the pick-up availability time.

With the assistance of WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center for preparation, the Salvation Army prepared 48 turkeys and many other side dishes for its Thanksgiving meals.

The Salvation Army served turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls and pumpkin pie.

For pick-up, 400 additional meals were served, Maj. Carey Richmond said after the annual holiday event.

“For me, the best part is being able to give back to the community and help those in need,” said Shirley Grogg, office administrator for the Salvation Army and a meal prep volunteer.

Jenna Pierson can be reached at jpierson@newsandsentinel.com.

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