Volunteers give back on Thanksgiving

- In a room full of strangers, Tiffany Hargrove smiles as she and others gave thanks for a warm meal.

"I would wake up every morning thinking it was the holidays, where am I going to get a hot meal?" she said.

Just a short time ago, Tiffany was living on the streets of Sarasota.

She spent most of her holidays not knowing where she would find food.

"You would be looking in the trash can just trying to find something you can put in your stomach to get you through the day," she said.

The Salvation Army welcomed her with open arms.

Volunteers worked around the clock for the last week preparing a Thanksgiving feast. By the time they were done, they fed more than 800 people. 

"It is not only the food and the memory that comes through the smell and the taste, but it is also the joy and fellowship and hoping for days ahead. It is a whole experience. You can see and sense the joy in the room," said Major Ethan Frizzell.

It is one day for everyone to give thanks and remember what was given to them.

"I am giving back what was so freely given to me," said Preston Slater.

Years ago Preston Slater received help from the Salvation Army.

Now he and his family volunteer each holiday helping others.

"We are willing to do whatever it takes to make them happy and make their day special," said Slater.

They hope their good deed will one day influence others.

Tiffany said it already has.

"I want to be able to give back to the community once I get out of here. I want to go out and serve someone else a hot meal and tell them it is a hard road, but with prayer and God we can get through this," she said.

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