Dale Fagalde was thrilled to welcome and chat with visitors who delivered a Thanksgiving meal to his Kennewick apartment.
Volunteer Tom Ambalam of Richland handed Fagalde a Styrofoam container with a turkey dinner, a slice of pumpkin pie, a Christmas card and a small, wrapped gift Thursday.
“This is the best thing that ever happened to me,” Fagalde said.
Fagalde said it was his first year receiving one of the meals provided by Tri-City Salvation Army volunteers and area businesses. It was Ambalam’s first time helping deliver meals instead of working in the kitchen and carving turkeys for the meal.
The Salvation Army and Richland’s West Side Church teamed up this Thanksgiving to serve a free meal to Tri-City families who came to the church, and to deliver meals to seniors, some of whom were homebound. At the church, about 170 people shared a Thanksgiving lunch.
At the same time, about 20 volunteers, from toddler on up, helped deliver meals to more than 70 residents at Kennewick’s Desert Villa apartments Thursday afternoon.
Cassie Pringle of West Richland wanted her sons Kaden, 11, and Chase, 8, to experience volunteering. Pringle and her husband, Sean Pringle, said it was apropos because they served meals in the same apartment complex where each had a grandmother live in the past.
Their family celebrated Thanksgiving on Wednesday, so Kaden and Chase’s grandmother, Hiedi Long of Kennewick, also could volunteer for meal delivery instead of spending the afternoon cooking. It was the family’s first time helping with the Salvation Army’s Thanksgiving dinner.
“Visit, don’t just stop and drop it off,” Salvation Army Capt. Barbara Wehnau told the volunteers. She reminded them that some of the seniors would not have any other visitors on Thanksgiving.
“We are doing this out of love for the people in our community,” Capt. Ron Wehnau of the Salvation Army said before leading the group in a prayer.
Then, volunteers handed out meals one by one to be delivered to each senior who had requested one. Extras were available for other residents who wanted them.
John Molzhon gave the Salvation Army’s meal program an “A+++ rating.” He said it’s something he will sign up for again, if he is still living in Desert Villas next year.
His family lives more than 1,000 miles away, so he and his sisters likely would chat later on the phone, he said. He’s a retired contract registered nurse, and worked in many of the western states, including a stint at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.
House-sitting for a friend brought Molzhon to the Tri-Cities, and the trees in Walla Walla kept him here. He lived for a time in Walla Walla before moving to the Tri-Cities.
Although he enjoys cooking, Molzhon said he wouldn’t have made himself a full Thanksgiving meal if a notice from his building manager hadn’t let him know about the meal delivery.
Fagalde also found out about the meals from the apartment complex’s staff.
Fagalde, who used to farm near Walla Walla, is in a battle with a blood cancer. He takes an experimental pill to help him avoid another round of chemotherapy, he said.
Fagalde’s apartment was already decorated for Christmas, with colorful lights and a small tree. He said his daughter Heather, who also is his caregiver, decorated for him.
“She’s been a blessing,” he said.