Community Thanksgiving feast expected to feed 3,400

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – If you have nowhere to go for thanksgiving tomorrow, we've found you a free turkey dinner. Preparations are underway tonight at the Richmond Convention Center for the Giving Heart's Fourth Annual Community Thanksgiving Feast.

The Giving Heart expects to feed 3,400 people. There are cans of green beans, 800 gallons of homemade stuffing, and then there's the turkey.

"They're all in here...and we've got it all separated into white meat and dark meat," said Flip Henderson, Giving Heart Board Member.

It took more than a day and a half for dozens of volunteers to cut 300 birds.

"It's not about the government helping, it's about people helping people. Bring it back to grass roots. This is what it's all about," said volunteer Jefferson Smith.

The Giving Heart is giving Richmonders a second home this holiday.

"It helps out the community. It gives people an opportunity to feed. You know like doctors who work at MCV who can't be with their family so they can come and get a meal," one volunteer said.

"A lot of students from VCU that can't go home for whatever reason. We're getting a lot of folks this year," said Henderson.

The meals are free. The event costs about $20,000 to put on but is entirely paid for through donations.  And this year's event may feed more people than ever before.

"I think a lot of it has to do with the economy and we're taking other steps to get people here. We've got a bus service this year. People are picking them up and bringing them here and taking them back home afterwards," said Henderson.

Anyone and everyone is welcome.

"It's for everybody the community so come on down the food is going to be delicious. We're helping out. Everybody's doing their part," said a volunteer.

They expect to be ready by first thing in the morning. The doors open at the Convention Center at 11:00 a.m. and the meal will continue until 3:00 p.m.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.