Despite the icy weather on Christmas Day, hundreds of locals flocked to the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, where a group of volunteers worked tirelessly to package and distribute hot meals to anyone who wanted one.
And at the conclusion of the 6th annual Dawson Feed the Hungry event, event founder Scotty Seay said that he and his volunteers gave away over 1,300 meals.
Seay said that this year’s event was delayed slightly due to icy weather in northeast Georgia, but went very well considering the obstacles that arose from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We did follow state guidelines with masks and social distancing, and we had a little fewer volunteers this year but it went really well,” Seay said. “It’s amazing to see us all just get together and work like one huge well-oiled machine, like little elves in a factory with everyone knowing their place and where they were needed.”
According to Seay, this year’s event saw more foot traffic than in past years with many attendees picking up meals to take home. He also took dozens of pre-orders before the event, and volunteers were dispatched to homes to deliver the hot meals to community members in the surrounding communities.
“We had a little bit more foot traffic than we had in the past with people actually coming in and getting plates and speaking with us,” Seay said. “Maybe they just needed a shoulder to lean on or an ear to listen to.”
Dozens of individuals and businesses within the community volunteered their time or resources to help make the event happen, and Seay said he was overwhelmed by the influx of support from the community.
“I couldn’t do it without all the wonderful volunteers and business sponsors,” Seay said. “It takes a village to pull it off and it’s not about me; these people are the ones making it happen.”
This year in particular, Seay said that he wanted to emphasize that “Feed the Hungry” refers not only to those who are physically hungry, but those who are lonely or isolated due to COVID-19.
“It’s about the people in nursing homes or assisted living homes, single parents, front line workers, or people who can’t be with their loved ones on Christmas,” Seay said. “Those are the people that I wanted to try to reach and say it’s gonna be okay, we all love you, we’re walking in these same footprints as you are in this crazy 2020 life and you’re not alone.”
Seay said that many frontline workers and first responders were among those who received meals, and that the event reached people all the way down to Lawrenceville, Cumming, Lumpkin, Gainesville and other surrounding areas.
According to Seay, the event is just as much of a blessing for him and his volunteers as it is for those who receive the meals.
“It was a pleasure doing the 6th Feed the Hungry and I hope I’ll be able to continue to do it next year because it’s a Christmas present to myself; giving something to others is a better present than getting something myself,” Seay said.