GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Thousands of people in need across Greenville County had a warm meal on Thanksgiving Day.
Project Feed 5,000 and many partners, churches, and community members worked together to make it happen.
“Across the Upstate of Greenville today, close to 970 volunteers who spend a span of six hours on Thanksgiving morning feeding those in their communities, their neighbors, the less fortunate, at three different feeding sites, which we call hubs, and then we have our community partners and other sites as well,” said Bajeyah Eaddy, Founder and Creator of Project Feed 5,000.
“We have prepared meals for close to 4,100 persons,” Eaddy said.
Eaddy said the three hubs included the Phillis Wheatley Community Center, Pleasant Valley Community Center, and Nolan Adult Daycare.
She stated more than 20 churches participated, the national Panhellenic Council, representing all fraternities and sororities, Masons and Eastern Stars, and numerous community volunteers.
There were several community partners, including Relentless Church (they fed four different locations), The Change Church, Changing Your Mind Ministries, Brookwood Church, Open Heart Church, and Shady Oak Baptist Church.
Eaddy said this is Project Feed 5,000’s ninth year.
“This started from one person, Crystal Harris, who was serving people out of her home on Thanksgiving morning,” Eaddy explained. “She passed away almost nine years ago. We picked up the mantle, and it’s important because there’s no organization, other than soup kitchens and volunteers who serve on Thanksgiving Day–a hot meal.”
“It was a need,” Eaddy said. “When we think about fulfilling the need, we think about our neighbor who goes without. Greenville, South Carolina is one among many cities who are below the poverty line with so many food deserts, so that’s why.”
There were also over 20 drop-off locations.
“They’re going to neighbors, they’re going to prisons, they’re going to community centers,” said Pastor Zach Brewster with The Change Church. “They’re going to nursing homes, all sorts of areas. So, people can literally put in x amount of plates in their neighborhood, and they’re taking them out.”
People of all ages were involved.
“I’ve been helping,” said Prince Hudgens, an 11-year-old volunteer. “We’ve been mostly giving food away. It makes me feel good seeing people like happy. I enjoy doing it.”
“My presence here today is really not to be a leader. My presence here today is to be a servant to serve. To give,” said Pastor Wendall Jones, State House Representative for District 25.
Volunteers said they just want to show the community they care.
“For The Change Church, we’re living out what our mission is– and that’s to give, grow, and go,” Brewster said. “So, this is a part of our giving. This is a part of our going.”
“It’s amazing to think that nobody is going to go hungry today. Now, we still have to figure out solutions for tomorrow, but nobody is going to go hungry today,” he said.
“I want to encourage people to you know, get out, get outside the four walls of your home,” said Pastor Hasker Hudgens, Jr. with The Equipping Center. “Get out of the four walls of your church. There’s a lot of need out here. There’s a lot of people to be reached.”
Eaddy said they’ll soon start the planning process for next year.
“Tomorrow, when Black Friday happens, when most people are shopping, we’re preparing for next Thanksgiving,” Eaddy said. “So, it takes us about a year for all, everything, to come together. We start planning who are our partners going to be. We start asking for partners, and then we start taking donations throughout the year, and people sign up.”
If you want to get involved, Eaddy said you can reach out to Project Feed 5,000’s Facebook page.