LYMAN, MS (WLOX) - Thousands of Harrison County residents will go to bed with full stomachs Thursday night thanks to the efforts of hundreds of volunteers. More than 2,600 traditional meals were packed in just over one hour at the 27th edition of Feed The Needy.
For the volunteers, it was not a job, but a calling. The opening moments of the operation had something for everyone: a thankful prayer, and a playful gobbling turkey. For some, the day is a tradition.
"Well, I think it's wonderful that you can come out and help and give a hand when it's needed," said Cedric Theodore. "It's been a little tradition that I started with my daughters a couple of years ago. We just wanted to continue to give a helping hand on Thanksgiving morning."
It was a day for the young at heart, and the young, including Avery McDermott.
"We just try to be good people in any way we can. We just thought this was a good idea," said McDermott.
Some, like Chastity McKey, helped out for the for the first time.
"This is something very different, something out of my comfort zone. Not being home traditionally and I just wanted to come out and feed the community," McKey explained.
The community gives back in ways that can be described only one way for volunteer Hubert Yarbrough.
"It's just a feeling that you get when you do this. It gets in your blood and to be able to help someone else in a time of need is just a tremendous feeling. There's nothing like the feeling you get by serving someone else," Yarbrough said.
When Feed the Needy was founded, the people who dreamed up the act of incredible charity never thought it would grow so large.
"It just grew. People said 'Can you help me here, can you help me there'," said co-founder Jimmy Johnson. "It started in the city of Gulfport and then it ventured out to the whole county. And now today we serve all of Harrison County."
Several hundred of the volunteers also stayed after all the packing was done and hit the road to deliver the meals.