More than 20 volunteers, most of them home schooled children, showed up at Knoxville's Helping Hands to pack groceries to give to people in need.
An assembly line was created to bag groceries, cart bags to the front of the store, put bags on the tables and hand turkeys out.
“This is the cornerstone for Helping Hands—the food ministry,” said Coordinator Chuck Galeazzi.
Helping Hands also has a thrift store where everything is free, as well as a crisis shelter with eight apartments.
“We have a total of 200 baskets that are handed out,” Galeazzi said. “We are responsible for 65 [baskets] to have ready for families.
At the beginning of the week they were short 45 turkeys for the baskets, and Galeazzi said he was worried he wasn't sure where he would be able to get the donated turkeys.
“I got on the radio [and made a plea] and we were able to get them,” Galeazzi said.
Turkeys were dropped off in the back alley behind helping hands, and the volunteers wasted no time in getting baskets prepared. With instruction from Galeazzi, volunteers were bustling around in a coordinated manner filling bags with goods.
In the back of the Helping Hands facility, boxes of food were brought down off shelves and put on banquet tables. Then volunteers, mostly children, would place the canned goods and snacks into plastic bags. The bags were then placed in a shopping cart and wheeled to the front.
With all the volunteers, it took less than an hour to make 65 baskets, Galeazzi said. The children helping seemed to enjoy the process of helping others.
Volunteer Shay Poulter said this is his second year helping.
“I like to help out the community. I like to give out to the poor and help people who aren’t as fortunate as some,” Poulter said. “It's nice to give them an opportunity to have a good Thanksgiving with friends and family.”
Brooke Galeazzi has been doing it four years.
“I like to help out the community,” she said. "I like to see all the [home schooled kids] get together to help.”
Jessica Steenhoek and her children helped put bags together.
“I love to find opportunities for kids to serve,” Steenhoek said. “They are young and I have struggled to find things for them to do. It's great to have something for them to jump into and help.”
On Nov. 18, bags were handed out by volunteers from Vermeer in Pella.
“This is a faith-based and spirit driven opportunity. We try to feed the hungry, cloth the naked and give drink to the thirsty,” Galeazzi said. “When we do these things we believe we do what Jesus wants us to do. We do it for him.”