In a true celebration of the spirit of Christmas, the fifth annual Dawson Feed the Hungry dinner took place between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Dec. 25 in the Gordon Pirkle Banquet Room of the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.
Featuring a traditional Christmas menu of ham, chicken, turkey, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, green beans, corn, dressing, and rolls along with soda, tea and desserts, the 2019 Dawson Feed the Hungry was able to provide meals to over 1,700 people according to a social media post from event organizer Scotty Seay.
“It was the 5th year doing this and it was the best,” Seay said via Facebook. “We fed over 1,700 people. Last year was a little over 1,400. We nailed it! I’m happy, above and beyond, to say the least.”
With room for 100 people at a time, the seating in the banquet room was constantly full and turning over said GRHOF Director and 2019 Dawson Feed the Hungry volunteer Gordon Pirkle.
“It was very busy all day, turning over all the time,” Pirkle said. “We had a good turn-out of volunteers, many more than last year, which made it easy and we finished up around 5:30.”
According to his description of the event on Facebook, Seay said there were over 200 volunteers for this year’s meal and he couldn’t have been more thankful for their assistance.
“Tremendous support from Dawson and surrounding counties,” Seay said. “Over 200 volunteers took the time out of their holiday to make this happen and that was the one of the biggest gifts this man could get on Jesus’ birthday.”
In addition to feeding those folks that arrived in person, teams of volunteers delivered food to a long list of shut-ins, as well as firefighters and police officers who were on duty during the holiday.
“About 10 teams of volunteers delivered food to a good list of shut-ins,” Pirkle said. “They went out to the fire station on (highway) 9 down in Forsyth, and up towards Lumpkin County.”
Formerly the owner of The Tavern, Seay started Dawson Feed the Hungry in 2014 as a way to give back to his community. After selling his restaurant in 2018, he found himself in need of another place to feed people and that’s where Pirkle came in with the offer of using the banquet room in the GRHOF.
The only thing missing from this year’s event was an industrial kitchen to prepare the large quantities of food needed. Last year, Seay and his family prepared most of the food in his home kitchen.
Once again, Pirkle came through, donating the facilities of the Pool Room, a local downtown eatery normally closed on Christmas Day.
“Gordon Pirkle is the man who does so much and never asks for nothing,” Seay said. “If I can be half the man Gordon is, I’m truly blessed. I’ve learned so much from this man and I’m lucky to have him as a dear friend.”
Seay also took the time to thank a long list of community businesses, charities and churches including the Publix of Dawsonville and Cumming, Foodlion, Joe LaBranch Veterans’ Affairs, and Leonard’s Farmers Market to name a few, who came together to make the event possible.
“I know I’ve missed some folks,” Seay said. “Trust me when I say I love you all and God bless youi for all you have done for me with this wonderful cause.”
For more information on how to volunteer for or donate to the 2020 Dawson Feed the Hungry contact Scotty Seay at (770) 866-2005.