This is the 25th year for Feed the Needy to provide a hot Thanksgiving meal to people across the coast who may not have otherwise eaten. Preps for the meals were underway Tuesday at the Harrison County Work Center in Gulfport.
Captain Earnest Thomas of the Sheriff's Department oversees a group of inmate workers as they get pumpkin pies ready for the plate. He said it's very unfortunate to see so many people in need during the holiday season, but he's glad there are people willing to provide.
"The fulfilling part comes when you see all those that are fortunate come together just to help feed those that are less fortunate," said Thomas.
This is his second year helping. He remembers seeing the hundreds of volunteers at last year's meal.
"It leaves you speechless to see so many people that show up just to be a part of this," said Thomas.
On Thanksgiving Day, volunteers help serve and deliver the meals. One of those volunteers is Dan Williams.
"It's just a great feeling to know you can go out and help somebody that needs good food for Thanksgiving," said Williams.
He used to be the cook behind the Thanksgiving meals here, but now that duty goes to Mamie Lacour.
"You just don't know, it gives you a good feeling when people eat and they're going, 'Yum, this is good,'" said Lacour.
This is her chance to help provide a meal for thousands of people who otherwise wouldn't get one.
"I love to see them smile, and when they're eating good, you can't help but smile. You sing, you dance, you know you're doing good for someone," said Lacour.
But, she says she can't do it alone. It's up to the volunteers to help out with the big day. And she says the more, the merrier.
"That would mean everybody that needs to eat would have a plate in front of them Thanksgiving morning," said Lacour.
Feed the Needy teams up with the Harrison County Sheriff's Department and several police departments to make the event possible. Captain Thomas says if anyone wants to volunteer on Thanksgiving Day, all they have to do is show up at the Lyman Community Center in Gulfport. This year, the organization expects to serve around 2,500 people.