Communities step up to feed, serve Thanksgiving meals


SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. - Many families are preparing their Thanksgiving holiday meals, but some across our area may not have that luxury. That is where community organizations in the region step up.

There are several organizations around our region providing holiday meals to those who need them both at home and fresh at the table.

Alan Musacchio has called Bristol's Haven of Rest Rescue Mission home since July. That is where he will be celebrating Thanksgiving this year.

Musacchio said, "It's what we always say, the more the merrier."

He is not just eating. He is cooking the meal. He and Christopher Workman both stay at the organization's Lighthouse residential program. They are used to cooking a public dinner each night, but this one is special.

"All the people showing up, big crowd, lot of talking and laughter," Workman said.

Musacchio said, "We'll actually be waking up tomorrow, preparing all the turkeys, the stuffing. We're having corn, green beans, and mashed potatoes."

According to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee, one in five people face a food insecurity in the region.

"They're not sure where that next meal is going to come from," Josie Russell, community relations manager, said.

This year, Second Harvest distributed 6,200 food boxes as part of Project Thanksgiving, ensuring families have a meal to eat for the holiday.

Russell said, "They are having to make the choice to spend money on Thanksgiving or a heating bill or something else that's a little more pressing than having a turkey, having the dressings, having all that stuff, so we want to take that burden off them by providing that meal for them."

With community support and partner WCQR, the families are receiving a turkey with all the trimmings. They are also getting food for the soul as a Bible is also in each box.

The Thanksgiving lunch will be served at Haven of Rest Thanksgiving Day from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. It is open to the public.