What started out as one family delivering Thanksgiving dinner to a handful of elderly shut-ins has blossomed into a massive operation benefiting around 2,000 Nashvillians.
Since 1987, the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary has been a Thanksgiving destination for hundreds of volunteers, people who decided to exchange their day of football and family for the opportunity to serve.
The event is the Keith Searcy Memorial Thanksgiving Meal, organized by Gerry Searcy in honor of her son Keith.
"We've been doing this for years and really enjoy making it part of our Thanksgiving Day," said volunteer Marilyn Hassell. "It's very rewarding. It's just a wonderful feeling."
Some of the people have been dishing up plates every Thanksgiving for more than a decade. For others, this is a first.
"Most years I'm going house to house to house," said Juvenile Court Judge Sophia Crawford, a volunteer. "This year I said ‘Let's go serve, the whole family" and I think it's going to become a tradition for us. It's all about serving the people."
Preparing the food is just part of it.
Outside the church there's a second army of volunteers packing the trucks and delivering these meals door-to-door.
"This is a great day for everybody to get out, where everybody's showing Thanksgiving," said volunteer Spencer Rollins. "Be thankful for things in their own families and also give something for other families to be thankful for."
Among the volunteers, you'll see judges, lawmakers and even the mayor might show up. All differences are set aside as they pursue a common goal.
"I was raised to have a servant's heart," said Crawford. "That's what things like this are for, and a time of Thanksgiving. We wanted to give back to the community."
"It's one thing to talk about it and it's another thing to get out there and do it," said Rollins.
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