BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - An overflow crowd enjoyed plenty of food and fellowship at Loaves & Fishes on Wednesday, as the Biloxi soup kitchen hosted its annual Thanksgiving celebration.
"Big Thanksgiving meal, we've been preparing for this for the past couple of weeks. We've been getting donated turkeys from all over the place," said executive director, Gretchen Hart, minutes before the meal was served. "And it's coming together. I think we're going to have a good group."
A large crowd helped celebrate the holiday with plenty of great food and fellowship.
"I'm thankful for Loaves & Fishes. I'm thankful for this community, thank you for our employees, and I'm thankful we have a place to do this," said program manager, Bryan Morales, who offered a welcome and prayer for those gathered.
Volunteers served the tables "restaurant style". Virginia College students were among the helping hands.
"This is my first year and I have really enjoyed it. I enjoy giving back to the community, so I do it every chance I get," said Shelly Nichols, with the Virginia College group.
Though the holiday celebration is special, Loaves & Fishes provides meals for those in need throughout the year. Good friends Louis King and Bobby Penton are appreciative for the ministry.
"This is wonderful, man. This is a wonderful place," said Penton, "They take care of a lot of people. A lot of hungry people."
The overflow crowd meant setting up more chairs and tables. Organizers say it was a great turnout despite the increasing need for food this past year.
"We're seeing a lot more families with children, and we seem to be able to supply them with food to take home. So, a little bit of everything this year," said executive director, Gretchen Hart.
The friends, neighbors and volunteers who gathered one day before Thanksgiving say they are grateful for all that Loaves & Fishes can provide.
Located in DeMiller Hall on Water Street in Biloxi, the organization relies on donations of money and goods; along with the willingness of volunteers who help cook and serve.