SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Hundreds of people from around the community came out to the 11th annual “Feed the Hungry” holiday dinner on Monday.
Just days away from Christmas, the event that organizers and volunteers called the “largest sit-down dinner” took place at the Windsor Forest Community Center.
It was open to everyone — especially those that didn’t have loved ones with which to share the holiday season.
“A lot of people don’t have families to go eat dinner with, and so this is giving them an opportunity to come and sit and just congregate with people like them,” said Deborah Hall, who was a first-time volunteer at the event.
In addition to enjoying a hot meal, with live music in the background, those who attended were able to choose from fresh produce and 4,000 pounds of Perdue chicken to take home with them.
Families with children were able to pick up toys from the many Toys for Tots donations available, and the event also offered free health screening and employment information.
State Representative and Feed the Hungry CEO Carl Gilliard said Monday’s event was like a homecoming.
“You know, we started in the city of Savannah’s community centers,” Gilliard said. “Windsor Forest is one of our vehicles.”
He said that hundreds of volunteers devoted time to the event, helping to ensure that everyone who came through the double doors Monday night felt like they belonged.
Local law enforcement, including the Savannah and Chatham County police departments, joined others from the community in serving meals.
“It’s important that people feel welcome, and I always tell people that at this event, you want to come in knowing that you’re welcome,” said Gilliard, who described the annual dinner as “the UniverSOUL Circus, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus on a plate.”
He added that the goal was to transform lives, one at a time.
“[At] Feed the Hungry, you’re not going to come to an event like this, ever,” Gilliard said.
“As a volunteer, your life will be changed, as a person coming here, your life will be changed.”