CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - The Shepherd’s Table in Conway is preparing to feed around 150 people.
This is the 12th year the soup kitchen is offering a free Thanksgiving meal to those who without them might not have anything at all.
Earlier this week volunteers worked hard to prepare the turkeys for Thanksgiving.
Executive Director Brandon Oates said the event is especially touching for him because of his own past.
“A little over seven years ago I was homeless myself so being able to give back to the community and be a part of something that helps others, to me, that’s a blessing,” Oates said.
Leaders said the mission of the organization is to share God’s love one meal at a time. They have a goal of ending and reducing poverty here in our community.
The traditional Thanksgiving style will happen despite recommendations from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to consider holding off attendance of larger gatherings due to the increased risk of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The assistant director, Lakeya Davis, shared why they’ve decided to keep it a gathering instead of moving the meals to a drive-thru style.
“It just wouldn’t be the same,” Davis said. “We already started letting them in for lunch and that’s why we did it because we really wanted to let them in for Thanksgiving just so it could be a Thanksgiving, it wouldn’t be a Thanksgiving if it were a drive-thru, it wouldn’t be the same, it wouldn’t be.”
Davis said although they’re a soup kitchen, they’re operating like restaurants with social distancing and mask-wearing.
The Shepherd’s Table will have all safety precautions in place for the Thanksgiving meal.
“We will have some in the dining hall and in the end unit, where we normally have storage we have cleaned it out and we are going to set tables up in there that way everyone is socially distant,” Oates said.
The Shepherd’s Table has seen a growth in need because of the pandemic. To give you an example, the organization held ‘fresh express’ this past Saturday to help 362 families, in the past, that event only serving around 100 to 150. They’re also receiving more calls for assistance.
The Shepherd’s Table is serving from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 1412 Gamecock Avenue #A in Conway.