Volunteers give up their day to help feed fellow East Texans - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Volunteers give up their day to help feed fellow East Texans

TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

The Salvation Army opened its doors Thursday for more than 1,000 East Texans, serving free, hot Thanksgiving lunches. An additional 200 volunteers also pitched in to pull the event off at the Salvation Army's Center of Hope in Tyler.

Marsha Jacob and her family said, without the center's help, they wouldn't be able to celebrate Thanksgiving at all. Jacobs attended the lunch with her two-year-old son Jonathan and her mother Wanda.

"We probably wouldn't be doing anything at home," Jacobs said. "We'd just be sitting there doing nothing. So, we're really grateful for the people and the staff."

It's a need volunteer Penni Simms can relate to.

"For me, it's remembering that affliction and that wondering, the bitterness and the gall of where I was," Simms said. "It's great to see the hope that is in the world today and the love of God that people are willing to pour out for others."

First time volunteer Ramferi Mata gave up his morning to make Thanksgiving meal deliveries with his wife.

"We just feel it in our heart to be able to help somebody out on Thanksgiving day," Mata said. "Everybody is busy with family members, so we decided to go out and give somebody who is not a family member a good happy meal. It was an amazing experience."

Some even brought their little helpers along, hoping to teach them at a young age the importance of giving back.

"We brought my nephew today so he would know that it's better to serve than to be served," Nedra Jones said. "Jesus Christ himself was a servant and we want him to know it's ok to serve someone."

The volunteers, giving many families an opportunity they wouldn't otherwise have.

"I'm glad my family is all together and we're having a good time," said Jacobs' mother Wanda.

About 1,200 people were served during the free lunch on Thanksgiving of 2012. The Salvation Army expects the 2013 to be even higher due to recent colder weather in the area.

Copyright 2013 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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