GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Culinary students used their newly-learned skills to feed and serve their community. On Monday, they invited the public to the Family Enrichment Center in the Gaston Point community for a free "Give Thanks Celebration".
Throughout the day, more than 50-students took turns in the kitchen, pouring ingredients and peeling hot potatoes. They prepared their first Thanksgiving dinner for anyone who needed a hot, holiday meal.
Chelsea Ramsey took charge of chopping raw onions.
"It's crazy, but it's fun," said Chelsea.
When asked if the task made her cry, Chelsea replied, "A little bit."
Chelsea learned to cook while in high school. Now, she is enrolled in the Culinary class at Climb CDC in Gulfport, a program that offers job training to young people, who are at-risk and high school drop-outs. The students, ages 16-24, can earn their high school diploma or GED while learning a skill.
"It feels good. I like to be in the kitchen. I love to eat. I'm a fat person, so I like to eat," said Chelsea.
The students worked alongside their instructors, learning new recipes, knife skills, and how to work together in a tight space.
"It's a bit challenging, like we're learning techniques in there, like how to chop onions and bell peppers, but I think it's really cool," said Alison McDougald-Simmons.
"They are a fantastic class. We have so much hope and belief in them," said Climb CDC CEO Stephanie Mathes.
The students planned the whole dinner, down to the festive decorations. And they invited mainly people in the Gaston Point Community, because many students live in the area.
"It feels good. It always feels good to help one another," said Sam Bowie.
With the turkeys, green bean casseroles, and sweet potato pies in the oven, the young cooks felt a sense of pride and accomplishment.
"It feels good just to know I'm able to help somebody that may not have a chance to have a Thanksgiving dinner. I'm giving back to the community. I love to give back as much as I can," said Chelsea.
Climb CDC also held a drawing during dinner and gave away 28-turkeys, so more families could enjoy a Thanksgiving meal at home.