Thanksgiving Day is something Amanda Day looks forward to every year.
The holiday allows her to share a meal with the people she cares about at L.O.V.E.'s Kitchen in Meridian.
“I'm thankful, I get to spend another Thanksgiving with Mrs. Fannie,” Day said of the center's director, Fannie Johnson, who was busy Thursday helping serve a meal of turkey, macaroni and cheese, rolls, vegetables and a variety of desserts.
Those who came for a meal had the option of taking it to go or eating at the center.
L.O.V.E.'s Kitchen, which is short for Lauderdale Outreach and Volunteer Effort, Inc., is a non-profit organization that addresses hunger in Meridian and Lauderdale County. The organization also provides resources such as washing clothes, resume help, GED preparation and job training and career readiness classes.
Day, who has been coming to the kitchen for 7 ½ years, appreciated the special meal on Thanksgiving.
“You should always be thankful for another meal," she said.
Ronald James comes to the center daily, but makes sure to come on Thanksgiving. James said he wanted more people to come out, because he usually sees a lot of people during the holidays.
“About three or four years ago, there were a lot of people and they kept on trickling in and out,” he said.
Even though he is not homeless, John Griffin makes sure to stop by the kitchen on Thanksgiving because he lives nearby. Griffin said some people who pass by L.O.V.E.'s, might not know it offers a meal for the holidays.
Johnson said the kitchen has been offering a Thanksgiving meal for the last 20 years, even though the organization provides its typical meals on a daily basis.
The kitchen is open for the holidays because many people might not have a family to share the day with, she said.
“They say the holiday time is a depressing for people that don’t have anybody,” she said.
Johnson said most people think the organization's clients are homeless, but many are actually the working poor. Those clients usually come and get a meal during their lunch break from work.
“Most people who use us are the working poor, who are usually making about $7 to $8 an hour," Johnson said. "They don’t have money for lunch.”
Johnson credited the community with helping fulfill the kitchen's mission, as the food comes from donations.
And she emphasized that giving back is important, not just during the holidays, but all the time.
“There is a meal here every day," she said. "Meridian doesn’t wait until Thanksgiving to make sure people eat."