Cooking for the Feed the Needy program heats up

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The kitchen is a beehive of activity at the Feed the Needy work center. It takes several hours to slice more than 2,500 pieces of turkey, not to mention filling more than 60 pans with scrumptious dressing.

Assistant cook Mamie Lacour explains what makes the dressing so tasty.

"All the ingredients; onions, peppers, butter, eggs and get to stirring," Lacour said.

It's no easy job making sure people are fed on Christmas day, people who might go without if not for this program. Dan Williams is the kitchen manager at the place that brings so much to people that have so little.

"A lot of work goes into it. What we do is prepare all the meat and everything together," said Williams.

"We try and slice enough for 2,600 meals. Then once we get it all cut up and everything, we take it and put it in the cooler until we get ready to start warming it up for Christmas day."

It's a system that works well. After all, it's been fine tuned for 24 years now according to Faith Dedeaux, another assistant cook.

"I just came in and it was already a well oiled machine," said Dedeaux.

"We have Captain King and Mr. Dan. They kind of make sure that everything goes smooth and they start really early in the morning, a few days ahead of time and it just kind of falls into place."

Pulling off the Feed the Needy program both on Thanksgiving and Christmas takes the effort of hundreds of volunteers and several members of the Harrison County sheriff's department. It also involves inmates and for them, it's a unique experience. Fulston Hinton is an inmate who helps manage the kitchen.

"It makes me feel real good inside knowing I'm helping out because a lot of people are out there at Christmas time that don't have anybody for them. So it's a blessing to me to be able to help out people, thank God," said Hinton.

If you'd like to help the Feed the Needy program on Christmas day, just show up at the Lyman Community Center on Highway 49 in Gulfport starting at 8 a.m. You can either help package the meals, or deliver them.

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