Hope Gibson and her band of volunteers served more than 300 meals last week during the third annual community holiday meal at Ole Gin House Barbecue in Elkmont.
It was the first time Gibson, her family and her workmates opened Ole Gin House's doors for a free Thanksgiving meal. In 2017 and 2018, meals were held near Christmas. Gibson, who can usually be found waiting tables at the restaurant, said restaurant owners Shannon and Anna Boger smoked 10 turkeys for the event.
Meanwhile, her mother made dressing, and others helped supply green beans, corn, rolls and drinks. Gibson said she didn't have to buy any desserts this year because so many people donated cakes.
"We just want to do something nice, to bring everyone together," Gibson said. "We know there are people here who may have no one to share Thanksgiving with."
The doors opened for lunch at 11 a.m., and Gibson said the turnout at the restaurant was great. In addition to feeding folks in-house, meals were prepared and delivered to those in the county stuck at home for the holiday.
Gibson said all told, they were able to provide a record-high 303 meals. She and her crew look forward to a fourth community meal next year.
—Ken Hines contributed to this report.