GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Thousands of meals are prepped for the 27th annual Gulf Coast Public Safety Feed the Needy Thanksgiving meal at the Lyman Community Center. After more than a quarter of a century, the Coast holiday tradition is still going strong.
Prep for the meal takes a full day of hard work in the kitchen. More than 260 pies, 2,600 slices of turkey, and tons of other goodies will be filling the plates of those in need in less than 24 hours.
Captain Earnest Thomas is in his fourth year overseeing a group of inmate workers prepping the food. He looks forward to the event all year.
"When you actually look at it, and you look at the expressions on their faces, you can see the enjoyment they get out of it because it's going to a good cause," said Thomas.
Thousands of people will benefit from the hard work on Thanksgiving Day, something that puts a smile on the faces of the men.
"God is good and I think everybody deserves a Thanksgiving dinner," said one of the inmate workers, Edward Hathorne, while slicing a pie.
The men believe serving others is a great chance for them to use their circumstances to better the community.
"I'm just happy to have this opportunity to be giving back to the community. Not everything about what we're doing is bad, and this is a way of us giving back and we're blessed to have the opportunity to be doing this," said inmate worker, Cleophus Brown.
Because of the work the men put in, thousands of people will have another reason to be thankful during the holiday season.
There's still a need for volunteers for the meal on Thursday. Those interested in volunteering are asked to arrive at the community center before 8 a.m.