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story.lead_photo.caption Shirley Houff, cook at Salvation Army, hands out meals on Tuesday evening. Photo by Kelsi Brinkmeyer / Texarkana Gazette.

TEXARKANA — Hunger Week starts Sunday and Thanksgiving is just around the corner.

With that, local charities are preparing to help as well as continue with what they normally do day-to-day.

The Salvation Army in particular will engage in feeding the needy for Hunger Week, getting a start a bit early.

"We will be giving out Thanksgiving food boxes," Major Russel Czajkowski said. "Each food box is loaded with all the fixings and trimmings for a Thanksgiving dinner, along with a gift card for a turkey. It is one way we can help out needy families in this season."

Feeding the needy on a daily basis is also part of the Salvation Army's mission, as they cook a meal for everyone in the community who wishes to partake, the local homeless population being a major recipient.

"We still will be serving our traditional Thanksgiving dinner," Czajkowski said. "Just like the rest of our evening meals, just one dressed up for Thanksgiving Day."

Randy Sams Outreach Shelter also provides daily sustenance, though most of their meals are for their clients.

"We provide dinner and breakfast for our clients," said Jennifer Lacefield, general manager. "Even for those who work during the day, we give them boxed lunches to eat at work.

"Thanksgiving will be a little different. We will be serving boxed lunches of a more traditional Thanksgiving sort of dinner meal. Normally, we have volunteers helping to serve a Thanksgiving traditional meal, but due to limitations this year, we are doing it a bit differently," she said.

"The community is invited to provide foodstuffs, dishes (think church potluck covered dishes) as well as things like plastic silverware, napkins and the like. The community members who need a meal are invited to partake, as well as the area homeless. We will also serve supper that day, but that will be just for our clients, but we do need help with supplies. Also, Dot's Rental is arranging some outdoor furniture for our lunchtime meal Thanksgiving Day."

Lacefield said that Randy Sams particularly has been hit hard by COVID induced restrictions and have not been able to do their traditional fundraisers this year. In addition, gathering food from local sources has been made more difficult and there have been less opportunities for their traditional volunteers. So they are particularly in need of funds and assistance.

Cody Howard, executive director and pastor, says providing the needy with breakfast and lunch is part of Mission Texarkana's work. All are welcome and no identification is needed. Also, they provide groceries, baby necessities and more.

"We work together with our local organizations and try not to duplicate anything," he said. "Also, we give coffee and water out at our Saturday worship services."

(To reach the Salvation Army in Texarkana call 870-774-270 or visit them on Facebook. Mission Texarkana can be reached at 903-792-1301. Visit them online on Facebook or at missiontexarkana.org online. For those who want to help Randy Sams Outreach Shelter, call 903-280-7549. They will also have a link on their Facebook page.)

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