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Salvation Army of Hampton Roads changes Thanksgiving plan to provide holiday meal

The Salvation Army will host a Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway this Saturday at Military Circle Mall in Norfolk.

NORFOLK, Va. — The Salvation Army of Hampton Roads typically hosts hundreds of people for an annual Thanksgiving dinner, but the nonprofit is rethinking the holiday because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We’ve had to change a lot of what we are doing through the holiday season, not just for Thanksgiving but also Christmas,” said Major Donald Dohmann, area commander of the Salvation Army Hampton Roads. 

On Saturday, November 21, the agency will host a Thanksgiving Turkey Drive at Military Circle Mall in Norfolk. The event will take place in the North parking lot from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and is a partnership with CMA CGM. 

Dohmann said the nonprofit will give away 2,000 turkeys with a limit of one turkey per family and a maximum of two per car with proof of two families from separate residences. Recipients must have valid identification. 

The COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions led the Salvation Army staff to reconsider how to serve people in the community, and Dohmann said his team reached this decision before Governor Ralph Northam’s most recent announcement of restrictions, notably limiting social gatherings to 25 people. 

Dohmann said the agency wanted to serve the community because the need has grown and in some cases, changed.

“That’s part of the reality of this pandemic. No one is exempt,” said Dohmann. “So families who have been in the position to help in the past, perhaps are not in the position to help this year.” 

Dohmann said the Salvation Army of Hampton Roads wants to aid in flattening the curve of COVID-19, and that led to the decision to host a drive-thru style event. 

There will be a walk-up station for anyone coming via Hampton Roads Transit or on foot.