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Here's how one local man brought the community together to feed the hungry on Christmas Day
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Sheryl Fletcher, Charlee Bishop, Mike Mann and Cindy Rhoads dish out food during the fourth annual Feed the Hungry event Dec. 25. - photo by Allie Dean

Bellies were filled and hearts rejoiced on Tuesday when one local man brought together dozens of volunteers to provide a free Christmas meal to those in need.


Scotty Seay spent Christmas Eve cooking a scrumptious holiday meal, but it wasn’t for him or his family to enjoy- it was for anyone in need of a hot meal on Christmas Day.


Seay’s mother Ruth Collins helped him prepare the meal, which included ham and turkey, green beans, dressing, macaroni and cheese, desserts and other tasty foods. Many others chipped in, donating drinks and food to help feed well over 800 people in Dawson County and surrounding counties.


The meal almost didn’t happen, as the restaurant where Seay had hosted the meal for the past three years was not able to accommodate the “Feed the Hungry” event this year.


Collins said that when her son learned on short notice that he would have to find a location, he was frantic.


“But I said where there’s a will there’s a way, and we found a way,” Collins said.


Collins suggested Seay ask Gordon Pirkle, president of the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, if he could use the hall of fame’s community room to host the meal. For anyone who knows Pirkle, there wasn’t a possibility of any other answer but yes.


“Gordon was there to pick up the slack,” Seay said. “We’ve been blessed.”


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Karen Parks and Scott Kasson volunteered to help provide hot meals to those in need on Christmas Day. - photo by Allie Dean

The event was held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and by 1 p.m. the volunteers had already boxed and delivered around 500 meals to local nursing homes, emergency services personnel, sheriff’s office deputies and homebound people in need of a hot meal.


“A lot of great volunteers came out today,” Seay said. “Lots of people donated food. The community has come together today, it’s been a blessing on Jesus’ birthday. We surpassed our expectations as far as being short notice.”


Volunteers included families with children, veterans, off duty sheriff’s office deputies, business owners, pastors, students looking for community service hours and individuals just looking to lend a hand.


The majority of the food was delivered as opposed to eaten in the community room, taken by volunteers as far as Cumming and Lumpkin County, with the leftovers taken to the Atlanta Recovery Center.


Cindy Rhoads was helping man the food table while her husband Dick delivered meals. She worked from early in the morning through the afternoon to help pack up meals for delivery.


“My husband and I didn’t have any plans for today, so we’re here for the day,” she said.


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Volunteers gathered in the Gordon Pirkle Room at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame on Christmas Day for the fourth annual Feed the Hungry event. - photo by Allie Dean