WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — People in Wilmington were digging in to their Thanksgiving meals all day, and those at Walking Tall Wilmington were no exception. They hosted their annual Thanksgiving dinner at Trinity United Methodist Church in Wilmington.
Volunteers say they had enough food to feed around 250 people, and for some, this Thanksgiving dinner is different than others.
“What he does is very different,” volunteer Sherry Gentry-Gasper said. “The dignity part, in terms of having people serve themselves and sit family style.”
Walking Tall Wilmington founder Randy Evans and his wife have hosted Thanksgiving for several years. For Evans, it’s much more than giving those in need a Thanksgiving meal.
“We’re able to take off the goggles of charity and we’re actually able to be present,” Evans said.
One volunteer comes down every year from Raleigh.
“Nobody is a stranger to you,” Gentry-Gasper said. “You just haven’t had a chance to talk to them.”
And for another, she once needed Evans’ help getting on her feet. Now, she tries to pay it forward.
“Any little thing that helps them,” volunteer Theresa Cozzone said. “You can take them out to breakfast, out to lunch.”
Whether you were volunteering or coming to eat, it was all about being together.
“Not necessarily so much about serving someone, as much as just being a friend,” Gentry-Gasper said.
“When you come to a Walking Tall Thanksgiving, it’s not us doing for someone else,” Evans said. “It’s us doing this thing together.”
Evans says the goal of Walking Tall is to build relationships with people in need throughout Wilmington. They pass out several meals every week in the downtown area.