Organizer Mary Margarett King said they were preparing for about 1,400 people and it looked like they were just about going to run out at Saturday’s free community meal.
The event began in 2011 as something to serve students and others in need of nutrition. It was quickly opened up to the general public, however, and now draws not only local people but some from area counties.
At noon, most of the tables were taken, a long line of people was waiting to get their meals and others could be seen carrying away armloads of take-out meals.
They planned to serve from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. but another organizer, Lee Ann Thompson, said they made a decision to change. That’s because people were already lining up about 9:30 so they began serving about 10 a.m. That moved the bulk of the crowd through earlier than usual.
Everyone who came got a meal turkey or ham, dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls, dessert and tea.
Musical entertainment was provided as well, a long table was piled up with free toys for children, a variety of arts and crafts tables were available and a free clothes closet was there also. Santa was on hand for the children.
Most of the food was provided through a grant by the Wal-Mart Distribution Center. Some of the food was cooked overnight through the courtesy of El Agave Mexican Restaurant, the only place they could cook 30 turkeys at one time. The approximately 40 hams were precooked but that still left all the side dishes to get ready.
Most, but not all, the volunteers were either in the school system or with Wal-Mart but the event has drawn more individuals as well in recent years.
City school trustees allow the group to hold the event in the Middle School cafeteria each year.
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