John Cook, left, gets a hand from volunteer Amy Flores as they bring turkeys into The Salvation Army’s hospitality house.

The Salvation Army had 40 turkeys Monday to feed 2,000 people in need on Thanksgiving Day at its annual banquet. It was short 300 big birds.

Once the Tucson community learned about the charitable organization’s dilemma, people lined up at its Tucson Hospitality House at 1002 N. Main Ave., Tuesday morning on into the afternoon dropping off turkeys and ingredients for side dishes.

Families came. Elderly couples came. Workers from doctors’ offices and car dealerships came.

By late afternoon with people still bringing food, Salvation Army workers had collected nearly 800 frozen turkeys, said Corey Leith, a spokesman for the organization.

There is more good news. The philanthropic William and Mary Ross Foundation donated $15,000 to the Salvation Army to purchase kitchen equipment for its new facility and to help with its 33rd annual Free Thanksgiving Dinner.

“It is amazing how the community comes together,” Leith said. “The amount of response that we got was incredible. People were lined up down Main Avenue in their cars waiting to pull up to donate,” he said.

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The community Thanksgiving Day dinner for people in need or for those who are alone will be at the organization’s hospitality house from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by Kids Unlimited, a singing and dancing group.

The extra turkeys will be given to indigent Tucson families during the next few weeks, and the remainder will go toward the Salvation Army’s annual community Christmas dinner at the hospitality house.

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at or 573-4104. On Twitter:



Carmen started at the Star in 1981 and covers the aging population. She wrote “Mama’s Santos: An Arizona Life”, a book about the Mexican and Mexican-American experience in the Southwest through stories about her family. It won 11 awards.