Enjoying A Working Thanksgiving

Bradley J. Fikes Bradley J. Fikes 2 Comments


Holiday duty is an inevitable part of being a newspaper reporter. News doesn’t stop on holidays, and unlike Santa, journalists don’t have elves to help them out.

But for me, working on a holiday such as Thanksgiving or Christmas is fun and not a chore. It’s a change of pace, and a chance to be more creative. And of course, there’s always the chance that something unexpected (almost always bad) will happen.

The blessings of a warm meal and companionship seem even more poignant on Thanksgiving, as it was for this man at Escondido's Salvation Army branch.

The blessings of a warm meal and companionship seem even more poignant on Thanksgiving, as it was for this man at Escondido's Salvation Army branch. Photo by Bill Costello.

So today I am just finishing up my Turkey Day article for the North County Times. The holiday stories have a fairly standard format: give a round-up of what happened locally in terms of observances, and include cops news and the weather. The particulars are always subtly different, however, and that is what makes them special.

This morning I went to the Escondido branch of the Salvation Army, where they were ready to feed about 350 people. By no means are these meals limited to the poor. As Major David Ebel explained to me, the dinners are meant to welcome all in the community who wish to drop by. If you don’t have anyone else to eat with, if you’re lonely or sad, they’ll give you companionship and a great dinner.


Preparing the meal

Dinner's coming! Thanksgiving meals are prepared for serving at the Escondido Salvation Army branch. Photo by Bill Costello

The photos above were taken by photographer Bill Costello, the official photographer for the Salvation Army.

I watched as some of the 60 volunteers smashed the potatoes in their pots – these were real spuds, not from a box. Others assembled the trays and brought them out to the diners.

Volunteer Deanna Kundinger of San Marcos said this was the first time she had helped out with the dinner.

“This year, I am not cooking for anyone,” Kundinger explained. “Two of my children are fixing Thanksgiving dinner, so I thought this would be the ideal time to do something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time.”

Being around people like that and writing about them makes me feel very close to the holiday spirit. And on that note, here’s a message from Major Ebel of the Escondido Salvation Army: Donations are needed to help them reach their goal of providing 1,000 people with Christmas gift baskets.

“To do those 1,000 (baskets), that’s 3,500 toys I do not have,” Ebel said. And they’re still shy about 4 1/2 pounds of food per basket.

Those who wish to donate can bring unwrapped toys to the Escondido Salvation Army branch at 1301 Las Villas Way. That’s just south of El Norte Parkway and west of Centre City Parkway. Click here for a map. You should call first for details, at 760-745-8616, ext. 100.

 My blog post on Thanksgiving is available by clicking this sentence. I’ll add a link to my actual story when it’s up.(UPDATE – here it is.)

And when my story is done, I’m off to my wonderful sister Vanessa’s, where my own Thanksgiving feast awaits. I hope you all had an equally wonderful Thanksgiving!


Comments 2

  1. Many might not know but both the City of San Diego and the County of San Diego have been stealing hundreds of millions from the poor, seniors, Veterans, children, homeless etc. through willful blindness to funding solutions for the poor using the $179 million in Redevelopment Agency (RDA) Tax Increment (TI).


    Please read our backup documentation where we are asking the the Feds and the State to force our City and County to conform with existing State laws and Federal strategies to End Homelessness for Veterans by 2015.

    So far the only elected official who is helping is Congressman Filner.

  2. Post

    La Playa,
    Thank you for that!

    I’ll have to study the issue more to reach a final conclusion, but at first read it’s not surprising that the San Diego City establishment would co-opt these funds. This part was especially interesting:

    At the national level, the City of San Diego changed the name of our Federal Strategy to “End Homelessness” into “Towards the Goal of Ending Homelessness,” which has no meaningful deliverables.

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