Volunteering has become a Thanksgiving tradition for families, ' - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Volunteering has become a Thanksgiving tradition for families, 'grateful to serve'

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- Thanksgiving morning, 11 o'clock is 'zero hour' for the Shepherd Community Council.

Delivering home-style cookin' straight to the homes of its flock; more than 80 elderly, sick, shut-ins or otherwise needy.

"It's our thirty-third year," Council President Malcolm Walker says. "We have excellent cooks and they try to do their best. There are a number of people who've been on the list for years, so they're at home expecting it on this day."

But Thanksgiving Day is about way more than the meal.

A string and brass quartet greets clients of the Chattanooga Rescue Mission. Volunteers are feeding spirits too.

"It just sets the whole mood--great music, great songs," director Donald Baer says. "We're very thankful for our people; our volunteers."

Strong hands and warm hearts, working the stoves and the serving lines, make the Mission and Chattanooga Community Kitchen seem more like family restaurants; if only for a day.

"Tomorrow, we've got to get back to the drudge and dreariness of life--trying to find jobs, places to live--deal with the homeless situation," Kitchen director Charlie Hughes says. "But today, let's just enjoy."

At least 500 would feast at the kitchen, 300 coming in the first hour. Three times as many, as on a 'typical' day.

But for Salvation Army volunteers David and Sally Worland, the extraordinary not only has become typical; it's a tradition.

"We would do whatever it took, from washing dishes --our boys learned to run the dishwasher---and we were doing the pots and pans, others were serving," David Worland says.

They've been doing it for 25 years.

All five children are grown.

But they return every Thanksgiving.

This year, two sons brought their wives.

"Our daughter studied sign language," David Worland says. "One family came in with a child that couldn't speak. My daughter was able to communicate with her."

And, in the process, all have gotten lessons in life.

"It's really awesome to me, to see, hopefully, their desire to serve others," Sally Worland says. "This is such a small part of learning to really serve others. It's really been a blessing for our family.

Giving. Gratitude. Going both ways.

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