Lowcountry residents come together for Thanksgiving at Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks

Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 4:02 PM EST
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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, Sc. (WTOC) - It’s a Thanksgiving tradition that’s been happening for nearly two dozen years.

About 1,400 people came to a restaurant on Hilton Head Island to enjoy a free meal as one community.

“In 1998, there was an article in the Island news packet that said ‘Lonely locals have no place to go for Thanksgiving,” said organizer Gloria Lacoe.

That’s how this all started.

With the help of the St. Andrew by the Sea United Methodist Church, Gloria LaCoe, her husband Allen, and the owner of Hudson’s Brian Carmines did what they could to make sure no one spent Thanksgiving alone.

And more than 20 years later, they have a line out the door and into the parking lot.

“I think we had 200 people the first year and today we’ll serve 1,400 people,” said Andrew Carmines, the president of Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks.

This years turnout is something Brian’s son Andrew Carmines is proud of after the pandemic slowed things down in years past.

But all these people couldn’t get fed without the hundreds of people and Hudson’s employees who volunteered to make all this happen.

There were 150 more people on the volunteer waitlist.

“The volunteers that are volunteering their time today, this is their Thanksgiving celebration and it’s changed to that over the years and really it’s in the true spirit of the holiday.”

And each table has a jar where people can donate to organizations like the Deep Well Project and Second Helpings.

“We’ve got homeless people, to people who are just here to give back to the community.”

“No matter what color, what race, what anything...it’s just one of those days where everybody can be together and enjoy each other’s company.”

“I’m grateful for my family that they’re here and we get to celebrate Thanksgiving together.”

A grateful community that’s tight knit and well fed.