City of Memphis serves thousands of people for annual Thanksgiving meal

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — By now you’re feeling stuffed from all the turkey and pies you’ve been eating today.

The city of Memphis wanted to make sure that hundreds of people who might have gone without also got to enjoy a big Thanksgiving meal.

It takes a lot of planning and volunteers to put together the Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless and hungry. Think you had a lot going on in the kitchen today? Well, just imagine preparing a meal for over a thousand people.

Fredrick Barnes admits 22 years ago when he started the annual dinner, the idea of cooking for hundreds was intimidating.

“It was headache. It was a headache with the cleaning because you didn’t know how to do it,” said Barnes. Now, whipping up 3,600 pounds of cornbread dressing is no big deal.

He even let us help out in the kitchen. “That’s kinda like bread with seasoning,” said Barnes.

Barnes says he could probably feed an army now, and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else on Thanksgiving Day.

“I see the people who come who are hungry and homeless. When they leave they are smiling, and that makes me happy,” said Barnes.

It also makes Tara Sims happy to be in this kitchen de-boning turkey’s. In fact, it’s become a family tradition.

She brought her sister, niece and nephew along with her.

“This is our thing.,” said Sims. “We come together as a family. It’s habitual now.” Her nephew, Tre, was only 12 when he started volunteering and says maybe he’ll bring his kids here someday.

“I think that is the whole point of Thanksgiving . To give back to people so you can be thankful,” said Tre Clayton.

“It’s a blessing to have the crew every year,” said Sims. “The same volunteers. Hey, all praise goes to them.”

The people who got to sit down to enjoy the meal would probably agree.

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