COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Multiple Columbus organizations served warm meals to thousands of unfortunate and needy people on Thanksgiving.
Valley Rescue Mission fed nearly 1,000 guests at its annual Thanksgiving banquet at noon. Mitzi Oxford, the development director for the organization, says more than 150 volunteers showed up for its under the tent luncheon.
"We've been overwhelmed by the number of volunteers," Oxford said. "I would say winter time is one of our busiest times. Our shelters have been at full capacity. When the weather turns colder, there are people that need utility assistance and meals. We see several hundreds of people show up to our daily Loaves and Fishes meals program that starts at 3:45 p.m. during this time of the year as well."
Brian Gresham, a logistic manager for the NCR Corporation brought 23 of his co-workers to volunteer at Valley Rescue Mission today. This is Gresham's first time volunteering on a holiday, and he said he wanted to do something meaningful on Thanksgiving this year.
"Instead of just sitting around and watching football games, I wanted to come out and be with the community," Gresham said. "My Dad is in North Carolina and I figured I wanted to do something for the city of Columbus. I will also help with the toy giveaway event in December at Valley Rescue Mission as well."
Valley Rescue Mission delivered hundreds of warm meals to the elderly and shut-ins as well.
"Our food and table decorations were donated to us from local churches and organizations," Oxford said. "Without the community's support, we wouldn't be able to serve all the people we need to. We are grateful for everyone's help."
Word of Truth Ministries, a local church on Fort Benning Road also held their first Thanksgiving meal program this year. Pastor Christopher Smith and his church members made home-cooked meals to feed nearly 100 homeless people.
"We want them to feel at home," Smith said. "It's always good to serve Thanksgiving meals before the actual holiday too, but I wanted to cook for people on Thanksgiving to help people feel welcomed and loved. It feels great to serve others on this day. It's all about giving and serving."
House of Mercy also held its annual Thanksgiving dinner. Donald Lewis, one of the chefs for House of Mercy says it's joyful to cook for nearly 50 residents in the building and also feed other people on the streets in need of warm meals as well.
"I get joy serving people in the house and out of the house," Lewis said. "This is my second year cooking and serving Thanksgiving meals to the residents and other unfortunate people. The community donates and volunteers for this luncheon, and it's a blessing to see how people help each other in this neighborhood."
Valley Rescue Mission will be holding its annual Christmas Banquet and the toy giveaway to the needy children in December. To see how you can volunteer for the program or to learn more about its daily Loaves and Fishes meal program, visit their
for more information.