The season of giving officially underway in Muscatine

Salvation Army Lt. Greg Bock and family are working to make sure the Red Kettle bells are ringing and children will have toys under the tree this Christmas. Submitted photo

The Salvation Army once again opened their doors to the community and continued “Doing the Most Good” this Thanksgiving providing a free traditional meal to any who chose to attend.

With an army of volunteers behind the scenes, the dinner was provided, prepared and served by volunteers. Lt. Greg Bock says that this year, the turkeys have been provided by the Zachry Company, while other dishes are provided by other individual volunteers.

“People know we do this yearly and start helping to fund it early,” Bock says.

“The Christian Motorcycle Association of Muscatine is the big group that comes and does a lot of the work…I’m not a fan of having BIG dinners and using plastic stuff,” Bock says, explaining that the dinner would be served on the “good china” instead in order to, “Make people feel and know that they are our special guests on Thanksgiving Day.”

Bock says the change required some additional volunteers for clean up, but that he feels the change is worth it.

“I just spoke to someone this week, an older lady, who said that she attended dinners at her local Salvation Army growing up. They made her feel so special with all the tables decorated and real dishes used. We’re talking 60 years ago! I want people to feel that again.”

Bock and his wife recently moved to Muscatine after completing their training at the Salvation Army Training College in Chicago. Prior to attending the training college to become officers and pastors, Bock worked for a Salvation Army in Cheboygan, MI working with their social services programs.

With the Thanksgiving meal complete, Bock is shifting his focus to the annual Christmas Kettle Campaign. The kettle goal this year is $180,000. This amount will include donations from the kettles, private donations, and end of the year donations. Funds collected during the campaign are used to fund social service programs throughout the year.

This year, the Salvation Army will once again be partnering with Calvary Church, with Calvary providing the location and volunteers for the toy shop distribution.

For more information on how to volunteer to ring the bell at one of the area red kettle locations, to find out how to adopt and angel from the angel tree program, or for information on how to donate, Bock advises area residents to call the Salvation Army at 563-263-8272 or to message their Facebook page “The Salvation Army of Muscatine County, Iowa.”