BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Around a hundred volunteers showed up to the American Legion in Bay St. Louis bright and early on Thanksgiving to help the Kelly family prepare dinner for the community.
This tradition started 28 years ago when the family owned a restaurant and would serve a free Thanksgiving meal every year to give back to the community. The restaurant has since been closed, but the tradition continues.
Nancy Kelly Bosarge said, "It's like coming to your family's house for dinner, that's what I really love about it."
Guests are greeted as they walk in the door and no one eats alone.
Every part of the Kelly family played a special part in the day. Bosarge's husband and 5-year-old granddaughter were the entertainers. Bosarge's mother, Sally Kelly, collected donations from local businesses and baked.
"I go from the bridge in Biloxi all the way down to the Bay and beg people to give back to people that use them all year and most of them do," Sally Kelly said.
Nancy's sister, Julie Massengill, and niece were in the kitchen and organized the volunteers.
"It's not just for people who need it. It's for everyone just so we can be a community," Massengill said, "and everyone get together and experience what Thanksgiving is all about."
Every year the Kelly family Thanksgiving meal gets bigger and bigger. This year they delivered more than 100 meals and they served around 1,000 guests. Karen Samuelson and her husband have been coming for the past two years.
"They give more than anyone should have to, but they enjoy it and we certainly enjoy it. We reap their benefits," Samuelson said.
John Parent also dined in.
"This helps a lot of people," Parent said. "I think a lot of people would go without Thanksgiving dinner if it weren't for them."
Parent has been enjoying Thanksgiving with the Kelly family for several years now.
"I don't have no more family, I outlived all my family," Parent said.
Thanksgiving is also Parent's birthday so everyone joined in to sing Happy Birthday. At 90 years young, Parent said there is no where else he would rather be.
"I want to thank them," Parent said.