While many Bay Area residents were still sleeping Saturday morning, Salvation Army volunteers were hard at work delivering 4,000 meals to homebound seniors throughout San Francisco on Christmas.
Workers started setting up at 5:30 a.m. at the Salvation Army SOMA Corps Community Center at 360 Fourth St., and volunteers arrived at 7 a.m. The volunteers collect the prepackaged meals and fan out across the city, delivering the meals by car.
"Today's Christmas meal program is for individuals who are homebound. Probably most of them will not have face-to-face contact with anyone else today," said Major Darren Norton, speaking by phone from the community center.
"It's really a heartwarming opportunity for us. We are grateful for the opportunity," Norton said.
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The annual event has been going on in San Francisco for 25 years, Norton said.
About 40-50 volunteers perform tasks at the community center on Fourth Street, and there are 120 delivery routes, typically with two people in every car, according to Norton.
Alli Chin of South San Francisco has been helping with the meal delivery ever since it started. She and her husband help organize the volunteers at the community center.
"It's been a tradition because we want to set the example for our children and grandchildren that life is not about just me, it's a community," Chin said.
"We serve each other and that's why we keep coming back so they will have an idea of what it means to be a part of the community," she added.