KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Knox Area Rescue Ministries continued its Thanksgiving Day tradition Thursday with a tent of hope. KARM helps the less-fortunate on a daily basis, but the organization pulls out all the stops on Thanksgiving.
This is the tenth year Lisa Compton has spent her Thanksgiving at KARM serving turkey dinners to those in need.
"Just serving some good food and being able to help others enjoy a big Thanksgiving Day meal," said Compton.
Compton is one of the more than 180 volunteers helping serve food at KARM. She says the reason she keeps volunteering is "just the fellowship just being able to be with them and share a little bit of our Thanksgiving Day."
The meal was served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. To have enough food for 1,200 people, 100 turkeys were prepared. a
Also, 500 pounds of green bean casserole were served, along with 450 pounds of mashed potatoes, 600 pounds of corn bread stuffing and 400 pounds of cranberry sauce.
This is the 26th year KARM has been serving food to the hungry and homeless in Knoxville.
David McLaughlin said he enjoyed the traditional Thanksgiving meal.
"This is as close to home as you can get without having a home. It's really nice," said McLaughlin.
McLaughlin lost his job in 2008. Later that year he lost his home. He's been employed on and off since then, sometimes staying in shelters.
McLaughlin said he is glad the community came together to help those in need.
"All I have to say is thanks. It's huge and it's greatly appreciated," said McLaughlin.
Compton encourages people to reach out and help others in need in their community.
"You get so much more out of it than you would ever imagine," said McLaughlin.
Rothchild Catering partnered with KARM to provide the 1,200 Thanksgiving dinners. Knoxville Convention Center cooked the 100 turkeys.
During the KARM Annual Thanksgiving Celebration those in need also had an opportunity to make a free cell phone call using facilities set up by US Cellular. This is the 8th year free phone calls were offered.
US Cellular service representatives say hundreds of calls were made.
"It only takes one call that will make us happy. If one person got to connect or find someone or really reconnect with someone than that's what it's really all about," said US Cellular VP Tom Catani.
US Cellular says people making the free calls have reached family members in other countries. One man even contacted a former employer, who offered him a job.