COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Local food bank, Feeding the Valley started off this giving season strong, hosting their 4th annual Thanksgiving outreach community project – The Big Gobble.

The four-week long food drive culminated in hundreds of volunteers preparing, packing and delivering meals to those in need. Meals were distributed in Muscogee County and other neighboring cities on Thanksgiving morning.

Some of the recipients included homebound seniors, homeless shelters such as Safehouse Ministries and families that registered.

Community member, Bill Rich has volunteered with the food bank for about seven years and says it’s what he looks forward to most each Thanksgiving morning. 

“Well I just think it’s necessary that everybody help out whenever they can on Thanksgiving,” said Rich. “I only take a few hours in my morning. I don’t know. Tons of people have been cooking for hours here to prepare all these meals. It’s over 2000 this year, from what I understand.”

Each meal included two packaged trays of turkey, dressing, corn, sweet potato soufflé, and peach cobbler or pound cake. Volunteers lined their cars across the loading dock of the warehouse, filling their cars to the brim with turkey dinners.

Some of the community members decided to make giving back a family affair, bringing their kids to help. Fund Development and Community Outreach Coordinator, Carleen Frokjer, says this event shows children the importance of giving back to those in need, especially during the holidays. 

“It’s a wonderful lesson to teach children,” said Frokjer. “It’s a great teachable moment so that they can understand that there are people that don’t necessarily get a nice, warm Thanksgiving meal.”

According to its website, Feeding the Valley “collaborates with more than 350 partnered agencies that shop in their warehouse and then distribute to families in need and are considered food insecure within their neighborhoods and communities.”

In addition to its annual Thanksgiving drive, Feeding the Valley works year-round in the community. Other initiatives include food pantries and food distribution programs for children.

To learn more about Feeding the Valley , visit https://feedingthevalley.org/.