CHARLOTTE, N.C. — By now many of us have already started cooking our turkeys for Thanksgiving dinner, but for people in need, Thanksgiving can be hard.
To help make the holiday brighter for struggling families, the Charlotte Rescue Mission is feeding 1,000 people in shelters today.
The mission is also feeding 15,000 families with take home meals that were sent home through schools and charities.
On the cold Thanksgiving morning, Channel 9 stopped by the mission's Uptown location in First Ward and saw hundreds of people filling the basement for a hot meal.
With a smile, guest Tracy Reid described, "You've got the eggs and the grits, the waffles, you just have everything"
Volunteers dressed in white served the food on white tablecloths to make families who have struggled feel special.
"I've been through addiction and I've been through hard times," said Reid.
A few minutes after talking with Reid, Kevin O'Neal walked up to Channel 9 and introduced himself.
Grinning from ear to ear, O'Neal said he is going through the addiction recovery program at the mission.
In a more serious moment of reflection, O'Neal said, "I chose to self-medicate myself and rip around on the streets." He continued saying, "(This is my) first Thanksgiving clean and sober, so I'm enjoying it. I wish my babies were here."
O'Neal has seven kids but he can't have a phone during the program and he isn't able to go home. To help men like O'Neal call home, the mission set up a table with free phones so guests can talk to their families.
In the dining room, the kindness and the love served with every plate is giving hurting families something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
O'Neal said, "It's a blessing man. You'd almost have to be in denial to not accept something like this."
Reid shared the sentiment, saying, "It's giving me something else to be grateful for."
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Cox Media Group