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TYLER, TX (KLTV) -
An annual tradition took place Thursday morning - the Salvation Army of Tyler's community Thanksgiving meal.
Several hundred volunteers were expected to serve more than 1,000 meals Thursday.
"It is really a privilege for us to take time and make sure that they have a hot meal and a time of just fellowship and fun and on Thanksgiving Day," said Major Doris Lawrence, a Core Commanding Officer at the Salvation Army of Tyler.
Organizers say they have a mixed community of people coming together from all different walks of life to spend the holiday together.
"We also receive people that live out in the community that just are affected by the economy and are just really struggling, may not be able to provide Thanksgiving dinner for themselves and their families," Lawrence said.
Major Lawrence said they were "crowded" with volunteers this year - people who helped make plates, serve food and drinks, and clean up afterwards.
"I'm here because I love volunteering. I think in order for our society to prosper, we must do what we can to help each other in any way that we possibly can," said 17-year-old Nytesia-Poe Ross of Tyler.
Ross has been volunteering at the Salvation Army on Thanksgiving for the last six years.
"I think that's just a great thing, to be able to put a smile on someone's face, even if it is just for a day," she said. "That is a great feeling to have."
She said she keeps coming back to help those who are less fortunate than she is.
"through the time that I'm here, I feel like we're a family," Ross said. "Because you're not with your family right now if you're volunteering, and they just become your family at that point."
The Salvation Army says they need volunteers throughout the holiday season, especially for bell ringing.
To volunteer, visit the bell ringing website or call Lori Nelson with the Salvation Army of Tyler at (903) 592-4361.