BRISTOL, Tenn. - About 100 people can now count on a Thanksgiving dinner, thanks to the Haven of Rest Rescue Mission.
Wednesday was the first day of their dinner giveaway, which provides food for families living in poverty.
"It's a little slower than usual but we'll be doing it for several days," said Josh Wiley, a manager at Haven of Rest.
Wiley told News 5 that 150 people usually show up on day one of the Thanksgiving dinner giveaway. "They tried to rush us a couple years," he said. "They're realizing that we're going to make sure that everyone who needs food is going to get it."
He thinks this year people are less anxious but the need is just as great as ever, he said.
Wiley told us more families have started packing into one home to get by since the federal government made cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), often referred to as Food Stamps. "We're also running into an issue where we have multiple families in a single household," Wiley said.23086842
He told us they've changed the way they distribute the food. They usually give each household one bag. The amount of food given this year, however, depends on the number of people in the home. "We give out the food accordingly," said Wiley. "We won't give a meal meant for six people to 12 people."
Haven of Rest has about 400 meals packed up ready to be handed out to families. Inside the bags are the usual trimmings like cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes and stuffing. "We try to make sure we give away something everyone can fix even if they don't have an oven," Wiley told News 5.
Instead of a turkey, they're giving away turkey loaf, which can be cooked in a microwave.23088140
Wiley told us they were able to purchase all of the food through donations. They expect the 400 meals to be enough to last them through the whole giveaway.
"It's a good starting point," said Wiley. "We may go more than that. We've got plans to do whatever we need to do to make sure everybody gets food."
That could mean buying more, said Wiley.
Haven of Rest is also partnered with the Second Harvest Food Bank in Gray, Tenn.
Haven of Rest asks anyone requesting a meal to bring an ID and proof of residency when they come to pick up the turkey dinners.
The pantry will be handing out food Nov. 20-23 and Nov. 25-26.