BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) - Thanksgiving is about family, unity and being grateful for what you have. But after Hurricane Matthew slammed the Lowcountry, a lot of people are still without and are working to recover.
That's why hundreds of volunteers, employees and business owners decided to use Thanksgiving Day to not only help out the community but to help it rebuild its strength. They did just that for free.
Behind the scenes at Hudson's, where more than 200 are volunteering. Something is especially important after Matthew because dozens are still trying to recover and are in need from the storm.
"The smile I see on people's faces, it truly brings everyone together it's amazing," said Garrett Dolaher, a volunteer.
Hundreds of people were lined up at Hudson's for a Thanksgiving-styled meal. But to handle the crowds, there had to be just as many volunteers.
"Great turnout. I am glad to be a part of this, you know, big operation and everybody counts. Everybody that volunteered, thank you very much," said Robert Costanza, a volunteer.
Those volunteers say missing a few hours from their day is a small price to pay to help those in need. But when it's all said and done, it's not about the haves and have-nots. It's about coming together and rebuilding the community one bite at a time.
"These people have been through a lot so it's definitely a good thing for the whole community to come together over a great meal," said Dolaher.
In addition to offering family-styled meals, restaurants actually went out into the community serving dozens of meals to those who could not make it out for the celebration.
"This year with Hurricane Matthew coming through, we felt there was more of a need so we bumped it up a little bit," said Keith Horton, Horton's BBQ Grill. "From going out and getting out the word in the community, with what was going on there's been a lot more need for it so I think we'll be pretty close to reach our numbers."
At Horton's BBQ Grill, the owner says he's looking to double the numbers from last year.
"I think the first year was around 400, last year we did about 600, this year we're shooting for 1,000," said Horton.
Even for the restaurants still recovering from Hurricane Matthew, there was no hesitation to bring the community together.
"We got hit pretty hard, and if it weren't for the staff at the restaurant we would still be closed. We had about 50 people work around the clock 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day just to get this place open in three weeks. They called me and said if you don't want to do the dinner we understand, I said over my dead body," said Andrew Carmines, owner of Hudson's on the Docks.
The owner of Hudson's says they usually serve between 1,200-1,400 people but this year they're looking to exceed that number because of the lingering needs still here in the community.