Salvation Army gives out ‘balutan’ style Thanksgiving meals

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In lieu of its traditional Thanksgiving luncheon, the Salvation Army distributed ‘balutan’ (boxed food) style Thanksgiving meals today at various locations.

Salvation Army Captain Kari Rudd said teams of four went out to distribute the meals, which were prepared by the Dusit Thani hotel.

“We are distributing the meals to some of our families that have lots of kids or are homeless. We’re also giving out items from our food pantry such as canned goods,” Rudd said in an interview with NewsTalk K57’s Patti Arroyo.

Rudd said they had to cancel their traditional Thanksgiving lunch for the second year in a row because of COVID-19.

“Hopefully we can resume that next year,” she said.

In the meantime, Rudd said the Thanksgiving meal distribution observed safe practices like wearing masks and observing social distancing.

The distribution teams were launched from Salvation Army’s main headquarters in Tiyan and sent to various locations in the island like the Oka PayLess intersection and BankPacific intersections in Tamuning, and the McDonald’s intersection in Harmon.

“All in all, we have 46 different places. So we’ll find you and make sure that people are taken care of,” she said.

Unfortunately, Rudd said they were able to distribute only about 250 meals because of budgetary constraints.

“We actually had donations. Unfortunately, the hotels couldn’t fix the food in time for the Thanksgiving distribution,” Rudd said.

She added: “Our hope is that we will be solvent as we’ve been here for 30 years and our territory has had to make up for our costs. We’ve been indebted to our headquarters. We’ve never been able to be solvent here on Guam. And our territory has said they no longer can make up the difference. So that’s why we have expanded our thrift store so that we can have more programs and help more people.”

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