Holiday Helpers hold 24th annual Thanksgiving dinner
BATON ROUGE - While most people spent Thanksgiving in the company of friends and family, more than 300 volunteers came out the Baton Rouge River Center to serve dinner to the less fortunate.
For many volunteers, serving at the Holiday Helpers meal is a Thanksgiving tradition. Michael Bailey was asked to help out more than 20 years ago, and just kept coming back.
"It means so much when you see those little kids look up at you and thank you and that type of thing," said Bailey.
The Thanksgiving community meal has grown in past 23 years. It started in a hotel and now packs out part of the River Center. To make sure everything is in tip top shape for the guest, Bailey makes his rounds, from the nurses table, to the kitchen, to the line no matter what job he does, he takes pride in doing it.
"Sometimes I'm cleaning up, sometimes a waiter and others times I'm a bus boy, and I love it," said Bailey.
Others love it as well. Southern University football players could be consumed with this weekend's Bayou Classic, but some chose to spend one-on-one time with the community.
"As long as I can help one person and start a chain where another person can help another person I feel that I've done my job and I feel that I have pleased God," said Kedy Enabulele.
Watson Williams III has been volunteering since he was six. He gave his time this year to cook in the kitchen and said it's an honor to serve warm Thanksgiving meals.
"It's just a blessing to be here today and provide those meals for those people," said Williams.
Williams is a veteran volunteer just like Bailey, and despite the cold Bailey's battled all week, he rested up and took meds so he could serve others.
"Thanksgiving is not Thanksgiving unless you come down to Holiday Helpers," said Bailey.
More than 1500 people were served at Thursday's event. Any leftovers from Holiday Helpers will be brought to St. Vincent de Paul to continue to serve the less fortunate.