KINGSTON (WATE) - With Thanksgiving around the corner, some families find themselves struggling to put a meal on the table.
A Roane County food pantry spent Wednesday providing meals for hundreds of families in need.
Hands of Mercy, a Roane County-based food bank, says it is seeing a spike in the number of people needing help with hundreds more in the last few months.
Billy Woody is thankful he'll have a Thanksgiving meal and a family to share it. Times have been tough, since Woody is unable to find work and had been homeless for a year.
"It's bad right now, especially right now, and I've been trying to get a job. I got family here, but they haven't been able to help me," said Woody.
Woody was one of many who received a free Thanksgiving meal and all the fixings.
It was all thanks to the Hands of Mercy food pantry and the Kingston Police Department, who raised the money to buy 780 Thanksgiving baskets to give to in-need Roane County residents.
The food pantry along with Kingston police officers and other volunteers handed out Thanksgiving baskets at Kingston City Park Wednesday.
Hands of Mercy started handing out baskets five years ago, the first year handing out baskets to 120 families.
"You're seeing people like you and me for whatever reason had their hours cut, or they been laid off, and this is pretty dramatic for most of them," said Hands of Mercy executive director Shannon Pinner.
Another 220 baskets were delivered to Roane County school counselors who gave them to needy children in the school system.
Kingston police and their family members packed and delivered another 50 baskets to seniors at an assisted living home in Kingston.
"I can't really tell you how thankful I am," said Kingston resident Virginia Ladd.
There were countless people that were thankful; many say a little help goes a long way.
"When you're not drawing a lot on your check to fix Thanksgiving, this helps a lot," said Etha Edgin, a Roane County resident who will be cooking on Thanksgiving for her four grandchildren.
Organizers say it took around $9,000 in donations to buy the food that was distributed.
A majority came from Women of Steel and UCOR at the K-25 plant in Oak Ridge. Kimble Chase, a life sciences and research product company located in Rockwood also contributed.
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