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"Doing the Most Good" on Thanksgiving Day and beyond!

Released 21 November 2013

Thanksgiving has always been a part of my most cherished memories. As a child I remember how special it was to share the Thanksgiving feast with immediate and often extended family. In my memories, I still have the smell, taste, visual and emotional sensations of those intimate family gatherings with those I loved. I cherish those times in my heart.


Into adulthood, my wife Kathy and I have followed those traditions with our own children. The thought or mention of Thanksgiving day reminds me of the Macy's parade, and a wonderful Thanksgiving meal of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, squash, fruit salad, green bean casserole, squash, turnip (for Kathy), and sweet potatoes (for me). All was served on the "good" dishes, and it was as elegant a spread as could be found on the cover of Good Housekeeping magazine. The afternoon was shared together, as a family watching a football game or one of my favorite movies, "Miracle On 34th Street" or "It's A Wonderful Life." For the years where our assignments offered a Thanksgiving meal for the community, we would hold our family meal later in the day, because it was important to keep making memories for our children. I absolutely cherish those intimate family times and in all honesty, wish I could have them back!


Next week will bring another Thanksgiving Day! Our children have grown and are on their own; now creating their own family memories. Where will it take Kathy and me? To The Salvation Army in downtown Buffalo to minister to people that need a helping hand. Many flocks of turkeys, pans and pans of stuffing, mounds of mashed and sweet potatoes, a garden of vegetables, gallons of gravy, and a bakery of pies will be cooked and served by hundreds of joyful volunteers in an intimate setting at The Salvation Army Golden Age Center on Main Street.  We will serve this year's meal with more of the friends we work with and minister to through The Salvation Army. Nicely decorated tables, color coordinated with favors will welcome our guests, and they will be served on the "good" dishes. The most moving time of the experience for me is the opportunity to visit with each person, to greet them, wish them a happy Thanksgiving and spend a few minutes talking, laughing and sometimes praying. I can only hope that we will make a cherished memory for those attending and that they will have experienced a bit of the love of God through the individual attention they received by one or all of us serving them. I cherish these times that God has granted us to care for others.


Another miracle of this season of gratitude takes place on the streets of Buffalo on Sunday and Monday nights.  During the cold weather months, staff and many volunteers from The Salvation Army serve a hot, nutritious meal to hungry people, many of whom live on the streets.  This Monday, the ‘Street Feeding' menu is Roasted Turkey, mashed potatoes, and corn.

This service like most of the programs and services offered, year round by The Salvation Army is uniquely designed to meet the most basic of human needs---food, clothing and shelter.  Then the Army will offer hope; hope for a better life, a life of self sufficiency, a job, a safe place to live and take of themselves and their families.  The Emergency Feeding program which is sponsored in part through the generosity of a KeyBank grant, allows The Salvation Army to be of service to a population that is in desperate need, but rarely seek the help they need to get back on their feet. 



If you are alone on Thanksgiving, or want to join our community family, please feel free to join us at 11:30am on Thursday, November 28th for our Thanksgiving service, followed at 12:00pm by our Thanksgiving dinner.


Please enjoy the following recipe that has brought many happy memories to my family. Maybe they can help you add to, continue or start a family tradition of your own.



Mom's Apple Cake

Recipe shared with love from Mrs. Major Kathleen Applin


2 cups of sugar

2 tsp. of baking powder

1 tsp. of salt

1tsp. of baking soda

3 tsp. of cinnamon

2 ½ cups of flour

1 cup oil

3 eggs

1 tsp. of vanilla

1 cup of walnuts

4 cups of peeled and sliced dried/fresh apples


Mix all ingredients and pour into a greased pan. Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes.


Blog Author -- Major Thomas Applin, AnnMarie Taft

Recipe  Author -- Major Kathleen Applin

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