NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — As many of you are enjoying your Thanksgiving dinner tonight with your friends and family, dozens of families in the Cape Fear are sharing theirs with an extra guest or two.
As Eddy Alonso-Morales and George Hoefer stepped off the bus in uniform, they knew they would not be spending Thanksgiving with their families.
“It’s basically my favorite holiday,” George said.
They are about to find out that the Jenkins family is going to make them feel right at home though.
“We’ll get them relaxed,” Len said. “We’ll stuff them.”
This is the second year Len and Ann Jenkins are sharing Thanksgiving with Marines.
“They invited us with open arms,” Eddy said. “I was expecting a normal dinner with mom dad and maybe one relative.”
From 9-months-old to 96 years old, there was a full house.
“You know just a good, southern Thanksgiving meal,” Ann said.
Ann made sure they felt like family putting them to work in the kitchen.
“I had Eddy peeling potatoes with me in the kitchen,” Ann said.
Then, she had an even better idea.
I said, ‘I wish your mother knew that you were helping me peel these potatoes,'” Ann said.
You can probably guess what happened next.
“Facetime,” Ann said.
It did not take long, before they all started to relax.
“We were both shy at first but I think we’re warming up to each other,” George said. “It’s going to be a great Thanksgiving.”
George will not be getting his favorite Thanksgiving dish this year.
“Honestly, I love my grandmother’s green been casserole,” George said.
He was introduced to a new favorite dessert though.
“Peanut Butter balls,” George said. “I switched over. Sorry mom and dad, it’s now the Jenkins Family.”
Whether it’s the dessert, or the company, Eddy said they are just thankful for the jenkins family.
“To be away, it’s one thing, but to be brought in by someone that we’ve never met before willing to just feed us, treat us, we’re blessed,” Eddy said.
To the Jenkins, this was all to say thank you to them.
“My goodness,” Ann said. “These young people who do this for us, so that we can you know experience the freedom that we have, it’s just wonderful. I don’t know how you can thank the Marines and all the other service members enough.”
Because no matter who you’re with or what you’re doing, there is always something to be thankful for today.
Port City Java organizes this event each year. You can apply to host a family next year by by contacting Port City Java next fall.