Some 32 years ago, when David Harvey was a college student, he spent a Christmas morning driving around Kansas City, delivering hot dinners to those who were alone or couldn’t make their own meal on the holiday.
At the time, his father, Clarence Harvey, was the major for the Salvation Army for Kansas and Western Missouri. The elder Harvey had the idea for an annual Christmas dinner in Kansas City. He put his son and others volunteers to the task of giving up a few hours of their Christmas to help those without homes or a means to a traditional holiday dinner.
“I came home from college one Christmas and they said, ‘Dave, we need you to deliver some food,’ ” Harvey said on Sunday. “I got in line with the people delivering, took it out to some seniors and saw what a difference that dinner made for them in their homes to have somebody, a lot of them lost family or didn’t have family, I became their son or their grandson that day by delivering this home. It showed me as a college student that there’s more to life than going on with my life.”
This year, Harvey resumes that duty, except now he has assumed the role his father once held.
In June, the Salvation Army transferred Harvey and his wife, who both worked for the organization in Chicago, to the Kansas City branch.
“It’s like coming home and seeing this food program go on, the deliveries, is bringing a new piece of home to me,” said Harvey, a major and the divisional secretary of the local Salvation Army office.
Harvey on Sunday stood among 130 volunteers at the Salvation Army’s building at 101 W. Linwood as they prepared to feed 400 people there and deliver about 600 meals to people elsewhere.
It was a traditional Christmas dinner — turkey, ham, potatoes, cranberries, rolls and pumpkin pie.
This year, there was a bit of a twist. Carl DiCapo, a civic booster, said he had heard about 100 people were stranded at a A1 Inn in southeast Kansas City.
“The city said you got to help,” DiCapo said. “I said, ‘Damn right I’m going to help.’ ”
And so they did. A van driven by Harvey and stuffed with boxed-up dinners made its way to the hotel near Interstate 435 and 87th Street just before noon.
Helping load up the van was John Bossard and his family. Bosshard first started volunteering with the Salvation on Christmas Day more than 30 years ago.
“I missed one Christmas,” Bosshard said. “And I still feel the guilt.”