SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Not everyone will have the pleasure of enjoying a hot meal on Thanksgiving Day, but Savannah Feed the Hungry is trying to change that.
Each year, the organization invites low-income families and others in need to its big Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts. But at these dinners, people don’t walk away with just a full belly. They also get to take home fresh produce, fresh poultry, and information about different programs that could put them back on their feet.
Hundreds of volunteers have been busy preparing this year’s Thanksgiving feast. The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office has also been busy smoking 200 to 300 turkeys for the big dinner. Organizers say around 3,000 to 4,000 people are expected to show up at this year’s event.
Last week, Savannah Feed the Hungry asked for canned food donations. The community answered that call, and now, organizers are looking for donations for their annual Christmas dinner next month.
“We’re doing toys more so. The food we’ve met, I think we’re going to be fine. But now, we’re starting to plan those toys for the big event on December 23rd. And then, the meat products will be hams that we’re asking people to donate moving forward to the Christmas dinner,” said Rep. Carl Gilliard, CEO of Savannah Feed the Hungry.
Savannah Feed the Hungry’s 2019 Thanksgiving Holiday Dinner was held on Tuesday night at the John S. Delaware Center, located near the corner of 35th and Lincoln streets.
State Representative Carl Gilliard is the organizer. He says these events not only help those in need, they also help people get back on their feet.
Volunteers passing out plates of warm food and groceries for the upcoming week at Tuesday’s Savannah Feed the Hungry. It was more than a meal, it was fellowship.
“The drum line was really fun,” said Aubrei Saddler, volunteer.
The food eventually ran out, but there was no shortage on smiles.
“Just to see all of the other people smile, there’s a lot more than we think it is out there. It makes my heart warm to see all the smiles,” said volunteer Johnathan Middleton.
Volunteers like Congressman Buddy Carter and Savannah Police Chief Roy Minter joined a hundred others in passing out about 2,000 meals to those in need. There was also a chance for those in need to get medical, housing and job help. Representative Carl Gilliard of Garden City says this event is much more about than handing someone a hot plate.
“When I see someone who is a single mother, a grandmother or a homeless man say that if it weren’t for this event I wouldn’t see hope and that makes a big difference,” said Gilliard.
That difference in giving and receiving. One 10-year volunteer started out on the other side of the table.
“One day it was me, one day I was in need,” said Karen Williams.
Williams is inspiring the rest of her family with a giving spirit. Her granddaughter says she's encouraged to spread more smiles.
“When I volunteer with them it makes it more fun, because I get to look up to my Nana and my brother and when I get older,” she said.
The feeling of family is how Savannah Feed the Hungry is made to feel, where everyone is welcome no matter their circumstance.
“It’s a warm loving feeling for me to just help and give back. Every year just to see the smiles on their faces, people enjoying themselves that’s a blessing to me,” she said.
If you would like to donate to SFTH’s upcoming Christmas Dinner, you can drop off your donations at the SFTH building at 4011 Augusta Road in Garden City.
Donation drop off location:
For more information about Savannah Feed the Hungry’s Holiday Dinner events and its Holiday Toy Assistance, click here.