Volunteers lend a helping hand on Christmas day

By Jessica Bowman – email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It was a day of tradition and celebration. Feed the Needy marked its 20th year of service and commitment to South Mississippi.

Volunteers joined as one to serve up thousands of meals once again to those this holiday season.

Jimmie Jenkins says, "We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, and I think that we cannot celebrate it in a greater way than giving back to those people who are less fortunate than ourselves."

It was a morning full of holiday joy. Christmas jingles were heard throughout the building, and the sweet aroma of pumpkin pie could be smelt as each volunteer boxed up dinner after dinner.

Christene Brice says, "I enjoy doing it, making a difference in the families lives."

Christene Brice has spent her Christmas morning with other Feed the Needy volunteers for the past 15 years. Brice isn't the only volunteer who has been lending a helping hand.

Jessica Johnson says, "I've been coming since I was 6, for 20 years. Just because it's for a good cause, it means a lot for our family. It's a tradition in our family."

"It's heartwarming, you know, after 20 years of doing this every year it gets a little better you know," says Jimmie Jenkins.

Some return year after year, but for some volunteers, it was their first Christmas to spend at Feed the Needy.

Randy Brownlee says, "We came out because our children are both gone and our oldest daughter here is working and our other one is on her way home, so we just had a quiet day at home and decided to come out."

At least 500 volunteers donated their time Christmas morning to serve up turkey and dressing, peas, dinner rolls and few other delicious holiday sides. All the food prepared was donated throughout the year.

Almost 2,000 meals were served in one hour.

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