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“People look forward to it:” Salvation Army set to feed more than 8,000 people on Christmas Day

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MILWAUKEE -- When you plan to feed close to 10,000 people on Christmas Day, preparation is key. But those who put on this feast have been doing it for years, and know exactly how to get it done right.

26th Annual Christmas Family FeastThe 26th Annual Christmas Family Feast, hosted by the Salvation Army of Milwaukee County is set for Christmas Day -- Friday, December 25th.

The event is the largest feeding event hosted by the Salvation Army on Christmas Day in the country.

More than 1,400 volunteers will help prepare a home-style dinner including turkey, ham, yams, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, dessert and beverages for more than 8,000 people in the ballroom of the Wisconsin Center.

"Takes a lot of hands on deck to get this done," said Don Rosette, Salvation Army Christmas Family Feast coordinator.

Some of those hands include volunteers from the youth serving community organization Running Rebels.

"I think it is one of the greatest things in our city, to show that working together, that we care about our less fortunate," said Victor Barnett, Running Rebels founder.

Many of these volunteers are not just giving their time now, but on the holiday too.

"To see so many of them willing to do it was a great feeling for me, to be a part of people that care about other people so much," said Barnett.

It hasn't always been such a large production. 26 years ago, the Salvation Army hoped to serve closer to 3,000, not 10,000. Can you guess how many turkeys this takes?

"We will have over 300 birds -- turkeys, and we'll have hams," said Rosette.

And the food deliveries mark just the start of this effort.

"Cutting up the vegetables and defrosting the turkeys, and then cooking,"said Rosette.

All the food for the Salvation Army Christmas Family Feast is donated by community organizations.

The feast will be held in the ballroom of the Wisconsin Center District, located at 400 W. Wisconsin Ave. on Christmas Day from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

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