Westy’s hosts annual Thanksgiving meal giveaway Downtown

Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 7:58 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A tradition that goes back almost two decades has returned at Westy’s with its annual Thanksgiving Day dinner giveaway for hungry locals.

This is the 18th year the Downtown restaurant has given back to the community on Thanksgiving Day.

“They’re really great, man... for helping out the homeless people and stuff, you know, so it’s really great being here,” said David Melton while grabbing a meal at Westy’s.

Thousands of hungry Memphians lined up Thursday to receive a free meal for Thanksgiving Day.
Thousands of hungry Memphians lined up Thursday to receive a free meal for Thanksgiving Day.(Action News 5)

For some, it’s their only opportunity for a hot meal during the nationally-recognized day of thanks.

“It makes us happy, because... you know that you’re going to get full,” said Errol Davis, another Westy’s guest.

“I’m glad for these folks here to help me out, because I sure need the help,” said Derek Henders while dining at Westy’s.

Dozens of volunteers from Lindenwood Christian Church, Operation Mission BBQ Relief, and Westy’s made this mission possible, serving over a thousand homeless and hungry people.

Volunteers load to-go plates full of Thanksgiving fixings.
Volunteers load to-go plates full of Thanksgiving fixings.(Action News 5)

“You know, I keep coming back, because it’s just the people,” said John Wheler, a volunteer with Mission BBQ Relief. I’ve gotten to know a ton of the people that get in line now and come look for me — ‘Big John, hook me up,’ you know. I hook everybody up.”

Taking part in the holiday tradition each year is becoming more popular, attracting new hands to help.

“I was stirring the corn and the green beans and passing out the food and trying to help out as well, and just trying to help out as much as I can,” said Van Oliver, a youth volunteer at Westy’s.

The special tradition even included giving out socks and warming items for the homeless. It’s just one of many reasons why some say they are thankful on this Thanksgiving Day.

A local enjoys a hot Thanksgiving meal outside Westy's Downtown restaurant.
A local enjoys a hot Thanksgiving meal outside Westy's Downtown restaurant.(Action News 5)

“I’m glad to be here today for seeing a good Thanksgiving,” said Tracy Pate while eating at Westy’s.

“I’m thankful for life itself and God’s Almighty. Hopefully, I see 50 more,” said Clarence Carter, another Westy’s guest.

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