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Free, warm meals available Christmas Day
Dawson Feed the Hungry looking for volunteers
Feed the Hungry pic 1
Volunteers Ruth Collins and Theodore Hurst serve chicken wings and tenders during the Dawsonville Tavern's 2016 Feed the Hungry Christmas meal. The Tavern plated over 500 meals that day and served or delivered them to the less fortunate. - photo by Allie Dean Dawson County News

If you’re in need of a warm meal on Christmas Day, the Dawson community has you covered.

Dawson Feed the Hungry 2018 will be giving out free homemade meals from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Christmas Day inside the Gordon Pirkle Banquet Room at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame as well as delivering meals to assisted living communities, homebound families and emergency and law personnel on duty.

“This is something that’s just near and dear to me. This is my favorite holiday of the year. Christmas is very special to me,” said Scotty Seay, founder of Dawson Feed the Hungry. “We didn’t have a lot growing up but we had the blessings of plenty that we needed as far as a small family and both sides of my grandparents were just big influences, and my mother and father too - to make sure that people got something, especially the less fortunate and the ones that maybe just need a boost in life.”

Seay, who volunteers throughout the year at soup kitchens, said he noticed that although there were resources for other holidays like Thanksgiving, there was a lack of resources on Christmas Day.

“I felt it was necessary to be able to offer this on Christmas Day for some of the less fortunate or someone that just wants an ear to listen to or a shoulder to cry on,” Seay said. “They may just need a boost to be able to speak because they’re lonely and they don’t have family and they just want to be around somebody. And that’s what we are. It’s not just about the food. It’s about the fellowship and being a part of something.”

Dawson Feed the Hungry operated out of the Dawsonville Tavern for the past three years, but after the restaurant closed, Seay wasn’t sure he would be able to organize the holiday feast until a local celebrity stepped up to help.

“It was an emergency situation last minute and Gordon Pirkle was gracious enough to let me use the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame banquet room… Gordon saved the day this year, being able to keep this thing going,” Seay said. “If we had numerous Gordon Pirkles in this world, this place would be a better place.”

Without access to the industrial kitchen at Dawsonville Tavern, Seay will be cooking many food items out of his home and enlisting the help of his mother and daughter to help prepare hot dishes.

Seay is also looking for additional volunteers to provide hot dishes for the meal to be delivered to the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame. Those wishing to donate desserts or drinks can bring those before Christmas to the GRHOF.

So far the menu will include ham, chicken, turkey, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, green beans, corn, dressing, rolls, sodas and desserts.

The Dawsonville Pool Room will be providing tea and ice.

And although the event is scheduled to end at 4 p.m., if there is a line, Seay and volunteers will stay until everyone has received a warm meal.

In years past, Seay estimates between 700 and 800 meals have been distributed each Christmas Day not just to Dawson County residents, but the surrounding counties as well.

“We’re stretching out as far as we can to help others,” Seay said.

If you are interested in volunteering or donating food items you can call or text Seay at (770) 866-2005 or contact him on Facebook. Seay is also taking pre-orders for delivery or pick up that can be called in or texted as well.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I appreciate every single volunteer, every call, every text, every single person that came to me and gave me kind words…. It takes a village and if it wasn’t for the volunteers and it wasn’t for people that would give me the platform to be able to do these things I couldn’t do it without their help,” Seay said. “It’s not just one person. It’s a community and God knows I’m not taking any of the credit because it’s not about me. It’s a higher power and we’re doing God’s work.”