At the Lyman center in Gulfport, an assembly line of people prepared thousands of Thanksgiving dinners to go. Leslie and Fran, along with hundreds of others, spent their morning preparing and delivering meals to the needy. Leslie Ledet, a volunteer, says, "For me, it's great to come out and put a smile on people’s faces and see how one meal can make a difference.” Thousands of residents in Harrison County wouldn't have a Thanksgiving dinner without this program. Earline Hayden, a Gulfport resident, says, "I feel so happy. This is the happiest Thanksgiving I've had in a while and I appreciate all you ladies for bringing me something for Thanksgiving." Fran Gorrell, another volunteer, says, "This one guy, it was just him at home and when we delivered his meal, it was just him at home and we told him ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ and he said, ‘I will now.’ It's just a good feeling to know that we made somebody’s day."
More than 2,000 meals were prepared and delivered. For years, it has been a goal of Harrison County’s to make sure that no one goes without a Thanksgiving meal. Diane Shoemake, Coordinator of Feed the Needy, says, "We're covering the whole area and it's making me feel good that we're feeding people who need meals. I know that no one is going to go without a Thanksgiving meal today." This is the 24th year that Harrison County has put on this program, bringing turkey, cranberry sauce, and warm smiles. Greg Haney, a Mississippi legislator, says, "Of course, the folks who receive the meals, they are so thankful that somebody remembers them on Thanksgiving morning." For Leslie and Fran, volunteering and seeing those in need light up makes their holiday much more special. Feed the Needy is sponsored by the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department and is paid for through donations. They are currently accepting donations for their Christmas dinner. You can donate by calling Diane Shumate at (228) 896-0606.