BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - While many people were able to spend their Thanksgiving at home with loved ones, there were those who are not so fortunate.
For people in such situations, places like the Salvation Army and St. Vincent de Paul step up to help. Many workers volunteered and gave back to the community on Thanksgiving Day.
The Salvation Army began its 16th annual Thanksgiving event with a worship service. The room was filled with men who cannot be with their relatives, so several volunteers have turned into their family.
"We have families and we're going to go home and go back to our families, but these guys don't get to do that so, we wanted to bring hope, health and healing to them and let them know that they're not forgotten," said Tonja Myles with Salvation Army.
The crew started cooking around 6 a.m. to prepare 150 meals. Most importantly, workers wanted to make sure everything found on the table at homes was available to these men, including cupcakes!
Meanwhile, St. Vincent de Paul celebrated its 32nd year of serving hundreds of Thanksgiving meals to the community's needy.
"We're going to be over 600," said Michael Acaldo, CEO of St. Vincent de Paul. "We never quite know what to prepare for, so we're ready."
The Mitchell family was ready as well. Chris, his wife and their two daughters, his sister and her family and his parents were all on hand to serve as a family.
"My mother thought it was a great idea and opportunity for all of us to come together as a family and to serve and give back to those who are less fortunate and we thought it was a great idea and what better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than for us to all come together and help other families out," Chris Mitchell said.
With the traditional meal of turkey, stuffing and sides all set, the doors opened right at 11:30 a.m. to hundreds of people, with each served one-by-one by all the volunteers.
"I enjoy this day every year," said Maj. Reggie Brown with Holiday Helpers.
Brown hosted his 28th annual Holiday Helpers feast at the Baton Rouge River Center with more than 1,200 meals ready to be eaten.
"Every day is a Thanksgiving Day, but today is a special day because we celebrate Thanksgiving and just to be able to see the number of volunteers we have in the community in the city of Baton Rouge to come and give back. There are no strangers here today. Everyone is family," Brown explained.
He added the best part about Holiday Helpers is over the years, he's watched the volunteers' children grow into adults and now they bring their own children and give back to the community.