Despite an $11,000 shortfall in seasonal funds, the Salvation Army of Greater Chattanooga is offering a free Christmas Eve brunch at 10 a.m. for the hungry, homeless and those in need at ReCreate Café, 800 McCallie Ave.
A full table of bacon, egg and cheese casserole; potatoes; biscuits; and fresh fruit await guests, Salvation Army staff said. Coffee and other warm drinks will be available, too. There is no reservation or signup required, staff said.
Kimberly George, Salvation Army of Greater Chattanooga director of marketing and development, said she is excited to see the turnout Thursday. And even with less money available, she said events like the Christmas Eve brunch must go on; it’s a part of the Salvation Army mission.
"We are a Christian organization, so everything we do is motivated by the love and teachings of Christ," George said. "He asks us to meet needs and go to the least of these, so that is what the Salvation Army does."
Money from red kettle donations to furnish this meal and other Salvation Army initiatives—such as the Angel Tree Program, gifts for nursing home residents and presents for prison inmates—fall short of last year’s amount, George said.
"What we need most is monetary donations because our red kettles are down $11,000 from where they were last year, [even though] the need is greater this year," George said.
She ascribes the deficit to warmer weather and increased online shopping.
More than $450,000 was raised last year, George said. At this point, they are just trying to come close to what they made last year, she said.