Jimmy Johnson was Feed the Needy's head cheerleader. "Let's go. Keep it moving. Let's go," Johnson yelled, as he stood next to a line of volunteers.
Lori Swank was in the line. She said she came out to help fix plates of Thanksgiving love because "we're serving the people that are unfortunate."
The Air National Guard's dining hall needed air traffic controllers to direct volunteers from the food preparation line, to the boxing line, and back to the food line. It looked a lot like organized chaos. Johnson said it looked like the perfect Thanksgiving gift. "Where else are you going to find 300 people come out on an Thanksgiving day, give their time to serve others," he asked.
Eleven year old Patricia Swank was one of the Feed the Needy volunteers. She said, "I had a choice of going to my uncle's, or serving food." Uncle Terry lost out. "I decided to serve food," said Swank, "because I think it's better to do that, see what's on the other side of the world, and just find out what it's like to help other people."
That was the same reason Troop 205 brought its Boy Scouts to the Feed the Needy event. Jeff Green was one of the Boy Scouts troop leaders. "I think the best part for me is to get the boys here to experience, to help the less fortunate," he said.
Gulfport High School's Sabrina Chess had some friends with her when she waited for her turn to carry a Thanksgiving plate. "It's a good way to come out and help people," she said. "You have so much during the holiday season. You have to help others when they're less fortunate."
More than 1,400 people received a hot meal and a few minutes of fellowship, because of the generosity of these neighbors. Organizers will serve more holiday meals on Christmas morning.