BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Five hundred Coast families now have everything they need for a Thanksgiving feast, thanks to a generous donation.
Southeastern Grocers and Feeding the Gulf Coast teamed up to give away turkeys and all the trimmings to those in need.
“I wasn’t going to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving, but now I’ll have a turkey,” said Audrey Dryden. “And that will be just wonderful. This is a real, real blessing.”
Hundreds of families no longer have to worry about what will be on the table this Thanksgiving.
“It filled in a spot where we probably wouldn’t have had much," said Harvest Jackson.
The parent company of Winn Dixie stores, Southeastern Grocers, and Feeding the Gulf Coast all teamed up to give 500 families everything they need for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
They said the turnout for this year’s drive-thru giveaway proved that there’s a big need during the pandemic.
“Food insecurities is always real and we recognize that but with the pandemic going on, it’s absolutely increased the need for us to be able to give back to the community,” said Lynn Rushing, Regional VP for Winn Dixie.
Cindy Bloom, Director of Operations for Feeding the Gulf Coast said that she’s seen that during COVID-19, a lot of families have been suffering from a food insecurity.
“During COVID, we’re seeing that one in five people are struggling with food insecurity, one in four children. And on top of that, with the hurricane, this area has been devastated,” said Bloom. “Thanksgiving is such an important tradition for so many people, all of us enjoy and look forward to Thanksgiving and it’s just heartbreaking to think that some people won’t be able to have that tradition this year.”
Dozens of volunteers came out to help with this food giveaway.
“I got to talk to this lady and about her family and just how much of a blessing it is, to be able to receive even just a little bit,” said Sister Earl with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. “And so if we can do anything so it can mean the world to them, it means everything.”
People are thankful for a community that comes together to help others through hard times.
“I’m just so at awe about all the things that are going on in the community,” said Khadija St. Ann. “How much support that we have as a community, and I’m just grateful for that.”
Southeastern Grocers and Feeding the Gulf Coast plan to hold another food distribution Thursday in Mobile.