By Jackie Ward

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Hundreds of volunteers spent their Christmas morning at the Salvation Army preparing and delivering thousands of meals to people in need across San Francisco.

“There’s more than a few people without a nice, fresh meal today. So we just felt we wanted to do our part,” said volunteer Robert Young.

William Yates, another volunteer, couldn’t go back to his native Australia for the holidays so he decided to help those in need. “So I thought I might as well do something useful and spend some time in the shelter here,” Yates said.

Volunteers like Young and Yates make the Salvation Army’s Christmas day tradition possible. They packaged and sealed 4,000 meals consisting of mashed potatoes, vegetables and freshly carved ham.

The Salvation Army says the effort also helps people who keep to themselves during the holidays share an interaction.

“Who may not otherwise get a warm meal today, or see somebody, give them a Christmas greeting, maybe say hello,” said Jennifer Byrd with the organization. “The Salvation Army volunteer is the only person they’re going to see today.”

Volunteer Gene Ervin and his grandsons were tasked with bringing meals to people’s doorsteps in the Tenderloin. Ervin began volunteering 24 years ago. “It’s just great to get them out and let them do something, give back and just be part of a giving tradition,” he said.

Ervin also loaded up his car with blankets to help keep anyone who needed an extra layer warm.

The Salvation Army says they get a surplus of volunteers every Christmas, but they need people to step up all year round.