MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Hours of hard work go into the annual Thanksgiving dinner at Westy’s Restaurant on North Main, but volunteers say they love it.
Westy’s partnered with Lindenwood Christian Church and the Memphis BBQ Network to feed Memphis' hungry and homeless community Thursday.
Volunteers serve a warm meal and hand out clothes, hats and gloves.
It’s the largest privately-funded Thanksgiving dinner in the city.
From a hot cooked meal to hats, pants and scarves, Westy's Restaurant in Downtown Memphis is once again giving this holiday season.
"It's just a group of people doing what we think, we the group, is right,” said Westy’s owner Jake Schorr.
Schorr said this tradition is more than a decade strong.
He and dozens of volunteers spent their Thanksgiving Day feeding those who are less fortunate.
“I’ve never been on the street,” said volunteer Jeff Ward. “I don’t know what it’s like. I don’t. These people are tougher than all of us combined. They live just to survive the next day.”
For others, like Earnest Marshall, volunteering hits closer to home.
He and his family have been spending part of their Thanksgiving Day at Westy's for years.
“I was once homeless,” Marshall said. “I was once homeless back in the day, so I know how it feels to be homeless. That’s why I do it.”
Each person volunteers for their own reason.
“When I do a lot of this stuff, it makes me feel better,” said volunteer Shannon Baldwin. “It makes me feel good to do something for the community.”
They’re all hoping to make a difference this Thanksgiving Day, and for some, giving back is something they do as a family.
"Now, it’s time for me to give back,” Marshall said. “That’s why I do it.”