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MEMPHIS, Tenn.– The City of Memphis and local churches joined forces for Memfeast, a food giveaway to support those needing a hot meal on Thanksgiving Day.

Cars rolling into the parking lot of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church were greeted by signs and dance moves by dozens of volunteers Thursday morning.

“It has been extremely busy, but it’s been extremely fulfilling because we know that we are serving the population that needs it the most,” said Bettye Boone, one of the organizers of the annual event.

Since the pandemic, organizers have noticed the need for meals around the holiday has increased. As result, they started preparing enough food to feed up to 5,000 people over the last two years.

“As a community, we must work together as a community to serve a community that’s in need. So, it’s just our small way of helping our community survive in these times,” Boone said.

To pull off an operation like this, MemFeast relies heavily on volunteers, who started preparing days ahead of the event. Among them was Memphis Shelby Schools interim superintendent Toni Williams.

“I take the pleasure of just serving at this moment, serving our students, our family, our community so it’s a beautiful thing to give back to the community,” Williams said.

Not only did folks get a meal, but Mississippi Boulevard Church also provided backpacks full of toiletry items which means a lot to those on the receiving end.

Long after the event is over, organizers hope that their act of service will inspire those who have found themselves on hard times this holiday season.

“It’s about hope and that’s what the Lord Jesus Christ is about. It’s about hope so that’s what we’re doing, we’re carrying out that message,” Boone said.

Organizers predict that nearly 5,500 people were served Thursday. The remaining items from MemFeast are expected to be donated to local shelters.