Kelly Family Thanksgiving serves meals for 37th year

Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 6:04 PM CST
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BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (WLOX) - After 37 years, Julie Massengill has learned well how to manage the Kelly Family Thanksgiving.

The event has been serving free meals to Bay St. Louis residents for 37 years.

But it’s almost like she’s tempting fate.

“I never set up volunteers. It’s just whoever shows up that day is who we use,” Massengill said. “Sometimes they have a lot to do. Sometimes, there are so many that there’s just a few things you can do while you’re here. But I leave it up to God and see who comes. And that’s how it is every year.”

But she can always count on Steve McQueen, who has volunteered here for 12 years.

“There’s a scripture in the Bible, Galatians 2:20,” he said. “It says, ‘I’ve been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who lives, but the Christ who lives in me.’ And it’s that Christ that propels the love to give out to others.”

Massengill can also count on first-time volunteers like veteran Bryan Wood.

“My kids are grown, so. We decided it would be a good thing to volunteer because I thought it’d be the right thing to do,” he said. “It makes me feel good because I take on helping out the community and helping out other people.”

The Kelly Family Thanksgiving began as an outreach by Massengill’s sister and mother.

This year, Massengill expected about 700 people at the Bay St. Louis Community Center.

And she said she gets a lot out of making it happen.

“Just a food feeling of being able to help the community, help the people, camaraderie, getting everybody to know each other and just a big sense of community,” she said.

“I get joy and peace,” added McQueen. “This is just so refreshing just to help somebody. There is no sorrow in that. It’s all joy.”

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