Salvation Army Meals in Danger

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HAZLETON -- In Luzerne County, the Salvation Army held its annual Thanksgiving day meal Wednesday.

More than 100 people ate lunch at the Salvation Army in Hazleton.

Volunteers there also feed more than 100 people each day during a regular week.

However, some possible mold issues in the kitchen could end food operations altogether.

Tests are still being done to check if the Salvation Army in Hazleton in fact has a mold problem in the kitchen.

As of right now, it will continue to operate.

If tests come back positive, the Salvation Army will shut down the kitchen, putting all meals and hundreds of people in jeopardy.

A hearty Thanksgiving meal for dozens of people in need is a tradition at the Salvation Army in Hazleton every year.

"I'm on unemployment right now, I only get like $273 a week which is hard to pay rent and electric bill and phone bill, this place is a big help," said Robert Spencer of Hazleton.

"It means a lot to me because it's helping a lot of people and there's people out there that are starving and we are thankful," said Tara Brandmier of Hazleton.

The Salvation Army feeds more than 600 people a week.

Volunteers said they do this to help out the community, and give back to the hundreds who may get their only meal of the day there.

"I don't think they have other resources except here, and we see familiar faces, but there are also new faces. People come and go, so it's a wonderful resource we can't lose," said Arlene Stagg, a volunteer.

"I feel good because I know some of them are not fortunate enough," said Micheal Valenteen, another volunteer.

But feeding hundreds of people a week and cooking the food, has now hit a snag.

Workers found a moisture issue in the kitchen.

It's now being tested for mold.

Volunteers said they are in desperate need of a new kitchen and hope the community will step up and help.

"I know with the good help and the good neighbors we have here in Hazleton, I know we're going to be able to renovate our kitchen and probably serve more than 120 people a day," said Captain Gloria Misla of the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army is taking donations to get a new kitchen.

Those mold test results will come back next week.

If they are positive, they will have to either shut down, or try to make meals out of somewhere else.