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Fort Smith/Fayetteville News | 5newsonline KFSM 5NEWS | Get the local news and weather where you live from 5NEWS. Covering Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Bentonville, and all of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

COVID not stopping non-profits from making sure Fort Smith residents have a Thanksgiving meal

Volunteers are still needed to make sure no family in the River Valley goes hungry on Thanksgiving.

FORT SMITH, Ark. — It’s been a tough year, and with Thanksgiving right around the corner, non-profits in the River Valley are gearing up to help more people than ever by giving back. 

Since the pandemic began, non-profits in Fort Smith like the Salvation Army and Antioch for Youth & Family tell us they’ve seen a bigger need than ever -especially when it comes to putting food on the table. So this Thanksgiving, the groups want to help by providing Thanksgiving meals for anyone in need.

Charolette Tidwell with Antioch For Youth & Family told 5NEWS she’s never seen a greater need here in Fort Smith. 

“We want to bring some brightness in the homes of these families,” said Tidwell. 

Antioch is giving out Thanksgiving dinners...but they're doing it a few days early. On Tuesday, November 24, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Kay Rodgers Park, they will be giving out food boxes with enough food for the whole week, from breakfast to a turkey for dinner. 

“I think it’s most important at this time because of the devastation for this year with COVID-19. Bringing cheer and hope to people is critically important,” said Tidwell. 

Like Antioch, the Salvation Army is providing a COVID friendly way to help out on Thanksgiving. 

On a normal Thanksgiving day at the Salvation Army in Fort Smith, the building would be filled with volunteers serving and cooking meals for fellow community members. The dining hall would be packed as strangers spend the day together as a family - but because of the pandemic, the day will look a little different. 

The Salvation Army will still be providing around 300 meals from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

Both the Salvation Army and Antioch for Youth and Family encourage anyone in need to come out and get a Thanksgiving dinner. They say even if they run out of the meals...they will find you something else to take home because no one is turned away hungry. 

Antioch for Youth and Family is still in need of volunteers to help pass out food baskets on Tuesday. If you’re available, you can find out how to register on their Facebook page.

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