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Donations needed for annual Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Organizers of the annual Memphis Thanksgiving for the Homeless and Hungry are asking for some last-minute help to make the event a success.

For a second day in a row Wednesday, volunteers were at the Cook Convention Center getting everything ready.

They spent hours organizing many items, including things we take for granted like toothbrushes, hats and even pillow cases. They wanted to make sure no one left empty-handed.

Organizers say every year they are competing with more and more businesses for your donations.

"We put boxes at our Royal Stores asking people to donate. And I notice as I go around town there is really a competition to get people to donate and bring things," organizer and volunteer Earl Sayles said.

They've collected several hundred items from groups and individuals in the community but need several hundred more for their special dinner guests on Thursday.

"Backpacks are helpful for our guests because you put everything in a backpack and go to your next destination," Sayles said.

Again, this year they're planning to serve around 1,000 people.

Sayles has helped organize the event for years and says it's not just about feeding those down on their luck. It's also about letting them know someone cares.

"There is a moment when everyone's head is down and we have served them their meal and it makes you go, 'Oh. This is why we do it,'" he said.

Even more volunteers will be at the Cook Convention Center on Thursday preparing and serving a monster Thanksgiving dinner and distributing items.

They will be collecting donations at the Cook Convention Center for about another hour Wednesday night. Donations will be accepted at the loading dock on Front Street or at room 201.

Organizers need more blankets, hats, gloves, socks and toiletries.

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