For 50 years, Hosea Helps continues Thanksgiving meal tradition

It's a milestone year for Hosea Helps.

This is their 50th year serving people in need on Thanksgiving day.

However, this year was much different than their traditional feast.

Organizers said donations are down significantly but the need for services is up by over 300 percent.

FOX 5 News spoke with several people at the Georgia World Congress Center Thursday who were there for the first time.

"I ended up becoming homeless myself," Jack Duncan explained to Brian Hill. "Lost, you know, what I had. Not just pandemic-wise but there were other situations involved with that."

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He was one of the thousands to get a package containing food, PPE supplies, and toiletries at the event.

"This is the food that they gave out. Sack lunch, crackers, and juice, and all sorts of good little goodies," Duncan said.

Maria Perez, who was here for the first time went on to say "there's a lot of broken families, a lot of broken homes, a lot of people who are going through things. This is good for those who have been left out."

Traditionally, this day consisted of a massive sit-down feast for anyone in need.

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But, for their 50th year, families went through a drive-through or walked up to receive their holiday food.

The change happened because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We just can't cook it at a place because now you cant do that," volunteer Nicholas Johnson explained. "We are just doing food they can take home."

Some people waited in line for more than an hour to get their only meal on Thanksgiving Day.

"I don't have to worry about what I'm gonna do to eat tonight," Duncan said.

And on top of the food - some people including Perez were given $20 by a stranger.

Organizers told FOX 5 they helped around 4,000 people.

You can find out more about how to get involved or donate on Hosea Helps' website.

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