Salvation Army helps give thanks with annual dinner

Mary Leeworthy of Warren, left, gets dessert with the help of Niles McKinley High School Key Club members Jenna Melius, 14, center, and Kasidie Sheely, 14, at right, both freshmen from Niles, on Sunday at the Salvation Army Thanksgiving dinner. The annual event was celebrated with about 400 people. Tribune Chronicle / Bob Coupland

WARREN — Warren resident Barbara Donoho said spending the day at a community Thanksgiving dinner with her great-granddaughter, Nevaeh Montgomery, 10, was what they both needed for a fun-filled Sunday afternoon.

The two were among 400 people served a free Thanksgiving dinner at the Salvation Army of Trumbull County. This the 12th year the meal was served by the women’s auxiliary and the Niles McKinley High School Key Club.

Capts. Chris and Kiley Williams, marking their first Thanksgiving at the Warren location since starting last summer at the Salvation Army, said the event was to provide local families with a holiday meal, which also included music by members of the Providence Covenant Church of Middlefield.

Kiley Williams said when they served in New Castle, Pa., there were local churches that came together to provide a community Thanksgiving dinner.

“This event is very similar to that reaching out to the community,” she said.

Warren resident Mary Leeworthy said it was the first time her family attended the meal.

“It was a nice way to celebrate Thanksgiving early,” she said.

About 20 Niles Key Club members helped serve desserts and beverages, cleaned up and assisted guests at the dinner.

Jenna Melius, 14, of Niles, said she and others signed up to help as part of the club’s community service effort.

“Thanksgiving means caring and giving and being with family. This way we can help make Thanksgiving special for others,” Melius said.

Warren resident Sandy Guarnieri, an auxiliary member, served turkey and stuffing prepared by Ciminero’s Banquet Centre in Niles.

“This has always been very rewarding to be part of for the past 12 years. It’s nice to be able to give back to others at Thanksgiving and other holidays,” she said.

Teresa Rutherford brought her three grandchildren to the event.

“They look forward to this. It’s nice to spend the day with them. They said they liked the turkey and stuffing,” she said, sitting next to 5-year-old Peyton Rutherford of Warren, who was finishing her slice of pie.

Helene Ashburn of Cleveland came to the event with her granddaughter, Jasmine Kuntz, 8, of Warren, who sang holiday songs with the choir.

“She loves being here and is having fun. The food was wonderful,” she said.

Kadie Bowen, auxiliary president, who also serves as adviser to the key club, said the students will be helping at various events through the holidays, including gift wrapping Dec. 1 at the Eastwood Mall, Santaland Brunch Dec. 2 at Vernon’s Cafe, McKinley Christmas in Niles on Dec. 8, and gingerbread house-making Dec. 15 at Eastwood Mall.

The Warren Family Mission will serve a holiday meal noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday, as will other local agencies and churches in the area this week.