GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) – Thanksgiving dinner came a little early for hundreds of people in need.

The Miracle Hill Rescue Mission in Greenville, and dozens of people in the community, came together to make it happen.

It was the organization’s annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner. However, the last few years looked a little different.

“Past couple of years, we’ve been doing food boxes to those who are living on the street, and we had not open it to the general public just for COVID precautions, but this year, we are opening it wide up. Anyone and everyone can come,” said Jeremy Huff, Director of Miracle Hill Greenville Rescue Mission.

Groups prepped for nearly 400 people.

“Those who are experiencing homelessness, many of them living on the street, including shelter homeless living in the residence,” Huff said. “Many volunteers, and community providers that we partner with us, we try to serve the homeless community.”

“A big part of our mission here, is to serve and to provide for not just the physical needs of those experiencing homelessness, but also the spiritual needs, and the emotional needs,” Huff said.

“We also hope to give them not only a taste of food, but a taste of what life could be like, if they became a guest at the mission and be able to work on some of the things to help get them back on their feet,” he said.

That was Dan Weathers’ story.

“I was one of these guys,” Weathers said. “At one point and time, I was a resident here. I was the guy that waited outside and slept in the cold for three nights to get in here.”

He’s now on the other side of the counter, serving the seats he once sat in.

“I have experienced it as a resident. I have worked in the kitchen as a resident on this, but yes, this is my first official viewing it from the outside,” Weathers said. “It’s definitely fulfilling to be able to give back to the same place that helped me. Like I said, I wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for this building.”

Kitchen manager Dan Coe felt the same way.

“I am blessed to be able to do this. To be able to serve these men. Plus, the men that are outside,” Coe said. “Lots of great fellowship. It really makes me feel good.”

Huff said this was more than just good food, but about bringing people together, to show that everyone can have a seat at the table.

“Whether you’re rich or poor, whether you have a lot or you have a little, whether you have an important position, or position that no one ever sees, you are worthy. You are worthy, you are equal,” Huff said. “You’re welcome to come at the table. So, I hope that people will just get a sense that they can belong, and that they have dignity and as a child of God.”

Coe said he hopes all those who came in need, felt loved., “that they know that they’re loved, and Jesus loves them. And that we love them, and we want to just take care of our brothers.”

In the same area where dinner was served, staff opened up a cold weather shelter for guests on Wednesday night.

“When the temp drops 40 or below at night, which it has been lately and it will be once again tonight, we open that up to all of the unsheltered homeless, who have no place to stay and just help get them out of the cold,” Huff said.

“So lately, we’ve been having about 100 additional guests sleeping in our shelter, in addition to the 140 that sleep in the upstairs– that are our normal guests,” Huff explained. “So, they will come in, they will have a chance to shower,. They’ll have a chance to lay down and have a safe place to sleep. We also have chaplains who will be here that will help engage the guest in conversation.”