On Saturday, Oct. 7, dozens of people gathered at the Jurassic Hotel in Drumheller to celebrate Thanksgiving as a community.

"It is our annual Thanksgiving Dinner," explained Captain Jennifer Hillier. "The Salvation Army has been doing this for many years -- hosting a turkey, Thanksgiving dinner for the community and it's open to anyone who'd like to come and join with us."

This year, as in past years, the traditional turkey dinner was provided by Pizza 249. The conference room was festively decorated for fall and Hillier booked entertainment to perform throughout the evening.

"We're set up for around 150 people," said Hillier. "We always ask people to RSVP but our numbers seem to increase on the day of and we have someone out doing pick-ups within the community so people can get a ride."

Hillier pointed out that the event wasn't targeted for any particular demographic -- anyone was welcome to attend, break bread and give thanks with the community.

"Any special occasion, sometimes people feel isolated or alone -- they may not have family or friends around -- and so, we offer this free meal for people to come by [and] experience the community of Drumheller. I think if we all take the time to think about it we can all find things we're thankful for."

After Thanksgiving, the Salvation Army will begin preparing for its busy Christmas season. Hillier plans to kick-off the Christmas Kettle Campaign on Nov. 24. The fundraiser will run until just before Christmas. This year, the group is down a Kettle location after the closure of the Drumheller Co-op grocery store in spring 2017.

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