JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — When it comes to holiday celebrations, the Salvation Army in Johnson City is making sure those in need don’t get left out.

Monday, the Salvation Army hosted a Fourth of July cookout for veterans staying at the Salvation Army Center of Hope as well as others experiencing homelessness.

Hotdogs, potato salad, chips, ice cream and all the holiday fixings loaded plates at the Johnson City campus. However, a free holiday meal at the Salvation Army is more than a meal.

“Really, it’s day for them to come and have a little bit of fun and not have to worry about the stresses of life,” said Capt. Benny Carringer, the newest leader of the Johnson City chapter.

Carringer says the cookout was meant to serve veterans or the homeless who without it, would have no July 4th celebration.

“A lot of our friends who are experiencing homelessness or discomfort during the holiday season that maybe don’t have family, this is a way for them to get together with their friends and family they have made and have a good day,” said Carringer.

For volunteers like Dennis Bailey, there’s a purpose behind each plateful.

“We just want them to feel a part of the community, that they belong,” said Bailey.

Bailey says he has been involved with the Salvation Army, whether in a full-time position or volunteering, for more than 40 years.

“I love to go out and to do service for the Lord,” said Bailey. “We serve the meals and encourage them along.”

Bailey, dressed full-out in red, white and blue, added there was nothing more patriotic than lending a helping hand to a neighbor in need.

“It’s a part of the American spirit, right? America, the land of the free and the brave. You want to be engaged, you want to be involved in this atmosphere, especially on the Fourth of July when you feel that freedom,” said Bailey.

For the Salvation Army, it is not just a holiday affair – they want to show up for those in need daily.

The Johnson City corps is raising money to build a new Veteran’s Wing, designed to improve the Salvation Army’s service to local military veterans. The new wing will serve as an important mid-transition home.

For anyone who wants to help the cause, donations can be made online.