Annual Valdosta feeding program helps thousands - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Annual Valdosta feeding program helps thousands

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VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -

Thousands lined up for a hot Christmas meal in Valdosta today as more than 40 churches teamed up to serve those in need. It's the 15th annual Feed The Needy program. Hundreds of volunteers came together to give 3,000 people a hot Christmas meal.

From clothing donations, toys, and a hot meal, volunteers in Valdosta made sure every person in this community felt the Christmas spirit today.

"We've been telling folks, you don't have to feel like there's no hope," said Feed The Needy creator, J.D. Martin.

Through prayer, and the kindness of others, Martin says he and his wife have been able to feed the needy for 15 years on Christmas Eve.

"I have a passion for this and so do these over 300 and something volunteers, they have a passion; some come back year after year," said Martin.

Even competition cooks from Florida drove up to Valdosta to barbeque over 3,000 chickens for Feed The Needy.

"It's sad enough that there's people in need, but it's a wonderful feeling to be able to come up here and share in the fellowship with everybody. This is a wonderful feeling," said Gary Belvins, with Munchee's Smokehouse in Lake City, FL.

One man says he's thankful for his community and a hot meal.

"Can't you see the smile on my face? Now that's a sunshine smile even though it's cloudy out here," said Grady Whitfield.

Today Feed the Needy served over 3,000 meals including 700 for homeless people in Valdosta, and they gave away 500 toys to local children. Martin says he will continue the program as long as people keep coming each Christmas.

And half of those meals were hand delivered by volunteers as they drove through Valdosta communities today.

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