POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- Thanksgiving dinner was served to more than 1,100 people this year at the United Gospel Rescue Mission, said the Rev. Gregory Kirk, the mission's executive director.
Describing the day as "fabulous," Kirk said, "We had tons of volunteers. We had to turn away some volunteering to deliver carryouts. ... We had a bunch of new volunteers, who never had volunteered before with us. It is great for us."
The staff and volunteers served more families coming to the mission this year for the holiday meal, Kirk said. "We saw way more children than compared to other times."
It's hard to count the number of people eating at the mission because they come and go, but Kirk said they "filled the dining room three or four times. The dining room will seat about 200. We had so many."
The mission ran out of turkey before the last diner was finished about 2:30 p.m., Kirk said. The staff had prepared 41 turkeys, 50 hams, sweet potatoes and all of the typical fixings. Volunteers donated hundreds of pies.
Of the meals, 600 were served in-house. Many more were delivered, Kirk said.
"To some of the folks we are the only family they have," Kirk said.
"The volunteers delivered carryouts to those who don't drive and to the sheriff's department. Everyone working was sent trays, and we fed everyone in the jail.
"It was a blast. We had a great time and we were worn out when it was over. It was an overall good day."
Kirk, the mission staff and the volunteers are gearing up to prepare Christmas baskets and Christmas dinner.