MEMPHIS, Tenn. —Mid-South organizations joined forces to continue a Christmas day tradition despite a pandemic. That includes, Westy’s restaurant in the Pinch District where volunteers say the giving season doesn’t end with COVID-19.
Joel Caudell, who was served a free meal, says this Christmas morning, he was on his way to the bus terminal to head home when he made a stop by Westy’s to get food. He says he was told indoor dining was closed, but the restaurant in partnership with Lindenwood Christian Church and Operation BBQ Relief were giving away free meals, a Christmas tradition for years.
Caudell says even if it’s just a meal knowing there’s still someone out there that cares.
This year was different as volunteers took the kitchen outside to stay within COVID-19 safety guidelines.
“We’re fortunate to be able to do this. We have a lot of volunteers that come out and give up their Christmas morning and Christmas afternoon,” John Wheeler, of Operation BBQ Relief, said.
Wheeler says volunteers made more than 14,000 plates for those looking for food. Caudell says knowing people are willing to take the time to give back to others warms his heart, especially after such a troubling year.
“Man, it really has to be honest with you. It’s really nice to know that there are people out here for the community. Helping and supporting the community through the trouble and the triumphs,” Caudell said.
Volunteer Lyncola Seaberry says she’s proud to know she may have made a difference in someone’s life.
“With so much going on with COVID-19 and Christmas is not like it use to be, I just felt deep down in my heart that I wanted to get out and give back to my community,” Seaberry said.
Wheeler says even with a pandemic, he couldn’t imagine spending his Christmas any other way.
“I wouldn’t. This is it. This is all my kids know. I got a 12-year-old and she’s been here for 12 years. This is what we do,” Wheeler said.
Volunteers also gave out clothing to the homeless throughout the day.
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