Family keeps tradition of feeding on Thanksgiving alive

The Kelly’s had turkey, gumbo, gravy, dressing, potatoes, corn, pumpkin pie — you name it!

Julie Massengill and her family is keeping a tradition serving free Thanksgiving lunch alive.

The tradition started 39 years ago at her sister’s restaurant, Mr. C’s in Bay St. Louis.

Once the family got out of the restaurant business, Massengill — along with her five children and volunteers — continued to serve over 600 people every year.

“My family really wanted to give back to the community,” said Massengill, the event coordinator. “And so many people came while they had their restaurant, came every year and they didn’t want them to lose that and that since of community.”

This is one volunteer and her dad’s second time volunteering at the Kelly Dinner.

Anna Goretski travels from Florida to spend Thanksgiving with her family on the coast.

“It’s a good time to give back on this Thanksgiving Day,” said Goretski. “You smell that potatoes and that turkey all day and it’s just so good to know you’re helping out other families in need.”

“My son had other plans and I said well go ahead, so I had plans with my friend and her brother,” said Helen Peters, an attendee to the dinner. “Mom and my stepdad passed away so this is a good place to come, cheer you up.”

The Kelley family doesn’t plan to stop their family tradition, passing it on from generation to generation delivering warm meals in Hancock County or fixing plates in person at the community hall every Thanksgiving from 11 AM to 2 PM — or until the food is gone.

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