Volunteers Deliver Food To Needy On Thanksgiving

Johnny McKinney was excited. He was one of an assembly line of volunteers that had just filled another box with Thanksgiving treats.

"Seeing all these folks," he said, "these folks are the one's. They're wonderful, and I just enjoy it."

Nearly 250 volunteers gave up the early part of their holiday so less fortunate neighbors could get a taste of the Thanksgiving spirit.

"We're just full of feeling to help somebody else out, somebody who is in more need than I am," volunteer Ruth Calhoun said.

It was the first time that Curtis and Tina Simmons brought their children to the Feed the Needy assembly line. Round and round they went, filling plate after plate after plate with hot holiday food.

"We talked to them and they were interested in helping out in the community," Tina Simmons said. "And it seemed like a neat thing to do."

The program has grown tremendously in 11 years. It was first started as a way for Gulfport police to help 500 people in the community. When the need grew, the program got to be too big for just police. Now hundreds of community volunteers crowd into the National Guard Armory to prepare almost 2,000 meals for the needy.

"For us to come out here and package all these meals and make sure that someone is getting fed, that's just wonderful for me," Lea Davis said.

"Well God has blessed us," Curtis Simmons said. "So we just wanted to hand back something to the community."

Harrison County law enforcement agencies will team up again on Christmas morning for another Feed the Needy event. Because so many volunteers are willing to help out, organizers said they may look for a larger place to prepare and box up the holiday meals.