Dalton couple determined to help their neighbors this Thanksgivi - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Dalton couple determined to help their neighbors this Thanksgiving

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William and Shelia Reed unload their van. William and Shelia Reed unload their van.
DALTON, GA (WRCB) -

Thousands of people in need in the Dalton area will have a place to go this Thanksgiving thanks to a dedicated couple who, despite their own misfortune, are making sure everyone in their area is fed.

William and Shelia Reed have volunteered their time for decades to keep Harvest Outreach running in Dalton. They've made feeding people their seven day a week, 52 weeks of the year job... only they don't get paid. And, this year, more than ever, they say they can relate to the people who are down on their luck and in need of help.   

"I know that people count on us every year," Shelia Reed said.

The Reeds are doing last minute preps for Thanksgiving dinner at the North Georgia Fairgrounds. With the help of local churches, gospel music groups and schools, they'll host thousands of people for a day of food, music and fellowship again this year.

"They're going hungry trying to pay their bills and just trying to survive and exist and we understand that and we do this in love," Shelia said.

That's what they've been doing for 28 years, as they run the non-profit Harvest Outreach in Dalton. Now in their seventies, they're not slowing down a bit.

"We're volunteers also and we just lead out. Everybody's got to have a leader, so I just jump in the deep waters with it," Shelia said.

But what you probably can't tell from their smiles, is that it's been a rough year for the Reeds. Their home burned down, so they're living in a cramped trailer, which is doubling as the outreach office. That's because a bad roof forced them to shut down their community kitchen.

"We were feeding over 200 hot meals a day, seven days a week," they said.

In order to get back to doing that, they need thousands of dollars in donations for roof supplies. They have enough man-power to build it and enough food to fill it.

"We need that bad. We can't open back up until we get it fixed, see," William Reed said.

Having lost their own home, they say they've gained more perspective this year on what the people they feed are going through.

"We know how it feels, you know," William said.

But they say it's just another reason to continue their work and give thanks this holiday.

"The Lord's good to us," Shelia said.

The Harvest Outreach Thanksgiving dinner is at from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving day at the North Georgia Fairgrounds. For people who aren't able to get out of their homes, they have volunteers doing home meal deliveries or you can pick a meal up for someone you know.

If you're interested in donating to help fix their roof, you can reach the Reeds by phone at  (706) 280-0883 or by mail at P.O. Box 3396 Dalton, GA 30719.

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