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Utah celebrates Thanksgiving with gratitude and service

Volunteer Jake Hall helps load up a cart of food for Mindi Sanders at Catholic Community Services Basic Needs Ogden in Ogden on Tuesday, Nov. 23. Hall, a marketing strategies and analysis manager at America First, joined other America First employees for the volunteer opportunity. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

Estimated read time: 6-7 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — In addition to gathering with family and expressing gratitude, many Utahns are celebrating Thanksgiving this year by helping make sure that others have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner this year.

Volunteers with the Salvation Army are delivered dinner to 1,000 people around the Salt Lake Valley on Thursday morning, including the Cline family which has continued its tradition of service on Thanksgiving for 25 years. Sarah Holland is one of the 30 members of the Cline family who helped prepare and deliver meals this year.

"Our annual family tradition of volunteering for The Salvation Army is one of the most memorable days of the year for our family. My children learn more about what it means to be thankful in those few hours than any time throughout the year," Holland said in a press release.

Capt. Rob Lawler of the Salvation Army Salt Lake City Corps, said that the clients it serves have been impacted by the pandemic at a greater level, and they appreciate the support from the community provided by the yearly Thanksgiving meal.

The Thanksgiving Project, run by Chad Fullmer who owns the Tooele Denny's, raised almost $8,300 and is providing 400 Thanksgiving meals tomorrow and donating any extra funds to the Tooele County Resource Center.

"Thank you to everyone for making this happen!" Fullmer said in a social media post.

Ogden police officers attended a Thanksgiving Dinner hosted by Youth Impact on Wednesday evening, and thanked Youth Impact for helping improve the community.

Multiple other organizations helped provide Thanksgiving meals for those who may struggle to get a holiday meal onto the table on their own, including Thanksgiving Heroes.


The Utah Transit Authority is not providing any service on Thanksgiving, and on Friday, Nov. 26, it will be running Saturday service, which has fewer trains and busses.

TSA officers reported that travel volumes for Thanksgiving have been at 91% of pre-pandemic levels, with 2,207,949 passengers traveling on Tuesday of this week. More cars will be on the roads compared to last year and gas prices are climbing, AAA reported.

The weather forecast for the day called for a warm and dry Thanksgiving Day.


Multiple fire departments shared tips for how to remain safe during Thanksgiving.

The South Davis Metro Fire said in a social media post that Thanksgiving is "the peak day for home cooking fires." It encouraged families to stay in the kitchen while cooking, keep children away from cords and stovetops, and be cautious while frying turkeys.

When frying turkeys, the turkey should be completely thawed first, the fryer should be placed on a level surface away from anything that can burn, and a fire extinguisher should be readily available, the post said.

The Price City Fire Department shared a video to help show why frozen turkeys and hot oil "do not mix."

Utah and Thanksgiving history

The Utah State Archives said in a social media post that Thanksgiving was not a set holiday initially after it was declared a national holiday in 1863. They shared a proclamation from Utah's territorial governor, Eli H. Murray, in 1884 supporting a proclamation from Pres. Chester A. Arthur and setting Nov. 27 as "a day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer."

"We recognize the difficult histories of appropriation and conquest that make this now annual holiday controversial. As archivists, we understand that often the documents we have only represent one voice of the past and that the many others that make up our history are missing. As we work to preserve the history of our state's government, we must actively work to preserve the voices of all the people who reside here," the post said.

The Navajo Nation sent a statement to commemorate Thanksgiving, and gave thanks to "the Holy People for safeguarding our connection to our sacred land, air, water, and all living beings," and sent prayers to their warriors around the world. The statement said that traditional songs, ceremonies, and prayers have sustained them through the pandemic.

"Let us come together safely as family and friends during Thanksgiving to share appreciation for the many blessings given to us. Use this time to enjoy some turkey and mutton, cheer on your football team, and gather in fellowship with your relatives," the statement said.

Sen. Mitt Romney shared a video talking about his family's Thanksgiving traditions and said that Americans have a lot to be thankful for this year, including freedom, values, and quality of life.

"We are immensely fortunate to live in America, especially today. It is my sincere prayer that individuals and families across Utah and the country find joy in gratitude this holiday season," Romney said.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox also shared a Thanksgiving video thanking the people in Utah.


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