OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Typically, St. John's Episcopal Church in Ocean Springs hosts a Thanksgiving Day meal. But when a few churchgoers realized that there was no free Christmas meal in the area, one member leaped into action and pulled together an old-fashioned yuletide dinner.
Toni Norman, the church member who catered the meal, made it her mission to ensure everything was as close to perfect as possible.
"I feel like everybody deserves a happy and merry Christmas, and they know we're here in Jesus's name," said Norman.
Planning the Thanksgiving meal was no easy task, so turning around and putting together another feast a month later seemed almost impossible. That's why all hands were on deck Monday.
"I have the most wonderful group of volunteers, and they just appear. I don't know who's coming and you can see them all in the kitchen, and everywhere and they just pick it up and go with it," replied Norman.
Norman said she was blessed when she was going through a hard time, and she promised to pay it forward one day. Christmas Day 2017 she was very glad to be able to be a blessing to someone else.
"It's wonderful. It makes me. This is my Christmas present, it really is. I couldn't be happier," said Norman.
Many of the people who came to eat are either homeless or from the local retirement home. If they weren't able to spend a few hours in good company, where would they be?
"Somewhere other than here. There would be no warm meal for them. They would be at their homes, on the streets, they would be alone, be by themselves," said Dr. L. Hollis Melton, a guest who attended the dinner.
The meal was such a success, church members and volunteers are expecting an even bigger crowd for next year's meal.