Volunteers bring Christmas joy to 2,000

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Hundreds of volunteers formed three lines inside the Lyman Community Center on Christmas morning.  When those lines reached the front table, the volunteers grabbed plates, and filled them with turkey and all the trimmings.

This Christmas, roughly 2,000 people will receive the hot holiday treats.  "We can't do it without you," Feed the Needy organizer Jimmy Johnson told the volunteers.

What started 24 years ago as a project to feed 25 Gulfport people at Thanksgiving has grown into a countywide initiative to feed so many more.  Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, more than 4,700 less fortunate people will enjoy a few minutes of holiday fun.  "Your Christmas present today is bringing a hot meal to someone's house," Johnson said.  "But also giving them comfort."

To feed so many people over the holidays, it takes, time, effort, giving people, and money.  Feed the Needy spends $12,000 a year to bring holiday joy to less fortunate neighbors.  This year, for the first time, the organization came up about $1,300 short.  And there was talk about canceling the Christmas event.  But, a last minute gift from the Spiders golf group, and a dessert donation from Hard Rock Biloxi put a bow on this holiday tradition.

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