Christmas dinner is a luxury many of us take for granted. But for man Mid-Southerners in need, putting a holiday meal on the table is impossible without help.
Just after dawn Saturday, thousands of people began lining up to receive a holiday meal basket. It's an annual tradition the Ford family started 35 years ago.
The annual Christmas baskets are actually boxes made by International Paper, the lead sponsor of this year's efforts to feed those in need.
"To help them have a holiday that they can remember," said Mark Sullivan of Internation Paper. "A lot of us don't think about food and other things, the basic necessities of life, we have those kind of things. These people do not have those kind of things."
The boxes travel on conveyor belts from inside to outside the Cook Convention Center. Along the way they are filled with turkeys, ham, bread, canned goods and other staples for a home cooked meal.
It's a great thing that would be impossible without hundreds of volunteers.
"We think this is the single most important thing we can do...help people in the community that are less fortunate than ourselves," said volunteer Nikki Tinker.
Serving 4,000 people is a task that some say was poorly planned this year.
"It might be worth it, but it could have been better organized," said Tryphena Gregory. "I mean, we've been down here since 7 o'clock this morning and it's almost going on 10 o'clock and it's just ridiculous."
Gregory and others say despite the long wait they feel blessed that someone cared enough to make their holiday a little happier.