Chattanooga Community Kitchen expected to serve close to a thousand people on Thanksgiving
The Chattanooga Community Kitchen plans to serve hot meals for close to a thousand people by the end of the day Thursday. The effort includes hundreds of volunteers who make all of it possible.
Thanksgiving is an American tradition full of food and conversation. It's a meal Ronald Clay is sharing with his Chattanooga Community Kitchen family.
"It's a blessing. It really is a blessing. It's wonderful. It really is wonderful,” Ronald Clay, who enjoyed a meal, said.
Clay comes to the Community Kitchen almost every day. He also volunteers.
Clay is thankful that he can enjoy a warm Thanksgiving meal.
"The Lord is wonderful. He blessed us all with thanks and everything,” Clay said.
Around 700 to 800 people in need are expected to come through the kitchen. Some years, volunteers have seen a thousand people on Thanksgiving.
"These folks out here who are living on the streets and don't have that home to go to, this is their Americana. This is their opportunity to come back and enjoy that tradition that shouldn't be taken away from them just because they're on hard times,” Dr. Jimmy Turner, Chief Operations Officer for the Chattanooga Community Kitchen, said.
Dr. Turner said hundreds of people are homeless in Chattanooga at any point in time. The Community Kitchen and its volunteers are a part of giving them the help they need.
"For us to be here and help meet that need, we're grateful for the opportunity to be here and as well we're grateful for all the people who come in and give us a hand with it,” Dr. Turner said.
Karen Vessels spends at least one day a week volunteering. She started more than four years ago.
"I felt that God was leading me here. I think it's really important for everybody to expand their comfort zone,” Vessels said.
Vessels said it's wonderful to see so many people giving back to the community but wishes more would volunteer when the holidays are over.
"That help is needed every day of the year and not just on Thanksgiving and Christmas because that could make such an incredible difference in our community,” Vessels said.
The Chattanooga Community Kitchen is always in need of volunteers.
If you would like to help or donate, visit the Chattanooga Community Kitchen's website.