"The need is always great:" Salvation Army preparing a Christmas meal for thousands

MILWAUKEE (WITI) --Preparations are underway in Milwaukee to serve thousands a Christmas meal.

The cooking starts at 6 a.m., and will not stop until everything, from the 4,000 lbs of ham, to the turkeys and all the fixings are done.

The tables at the Wisconsin Center are set for the 25th annual Salvation Army Christmas Family Feast.

With the help of volunteers and community donations that bring in the food, this is a holiday tradition planned for everyone, from those in need to people who just want a little company over the holidays.

"People come and share friendships and fellowships, no matter what their econonmic status is," said the Don Rosette, the project leader.

For those who wouldn't otherwise have food on the table this Christmas, this food is especially important.

"The need is always great," said Faithe Colas, the director of community relations with the Salvation Army.

Salvation Army leaders say they see a ten percent increase each year in people coming to their organization for support.

They can track the number through their food pantries.

"Often times you'll hear that the economy is doing better, but it hasn't quite gotten to the Midwest yet," said Colas.

There are 160 tables already set up at the Wisconsin Center. They are preparing to serve more than 8,000  people, which is going to be the largest Christmas meal the Salvation Army serves across the country.

"We have stories that would just astound you. From all over the country people come to this thing, when they are in Milwaukee at Christmas time," said Rosette.

The Christmas meal is set for 11 am Christmas Day at the Wisconsin Center. It runs until 2:30 pm.