ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Several hundred people waited as long as an hour to enjoy a hot and hearty Thanksgiving lunch Monday at St. Clare's Community Center on Martin Luther King Drive in Albany.
St. Clare's serves as a soup kitchen all year long, but Monday they tripled the number of meals they provided.
One young family took part in the lunch, thankful for the hot food and hopeful for a better future.
Keana Vicks said the wait for lunch was worth it for her and her four children, who are all under the age of six.
She said she came "To enjoy the people and the food. It's a good thing for my children to see people," said Vicks.
Inside, volunteers like husband and wife duo William and Carol Stansbury were dishing out Thanksgiving meals like they have for years, 41 diners at a time.
"Times are tough out there and somebody needs to help," said William Stansbury.
A volunteered wished the Vicks family a "Happy Thanksgiving" and with smiles on their faces, the young mother and children happily received the turkey meal complete with all the trimmings that they patiently waited to eat. But, underneath Keana's joyful exterior was a worry she shared with us earlier in the line to get inside.
"I have a job interview at Hardee's this week coming up. I hope I get it," explained Vicks.
A job for this single mom of four who has been without work, and with her youngest only seven months old, the extra income is needed.
She told us the job interview is on her mind, but only genuine gratitude for the meal, and this moment with her four children, shined from her heart.
When asked what she is thankful for, Keana Vicks said, "For being here. For being here and being able to receive this Thanksgiving dinner," said Vicks.
And, while serving 300 Thanksgiving lunches is a big undertaking for St. Clare's, a small statured Catholic sister has kept the operation running smoothly.
Sister Maura Molloy has helped lead the meal service at St. Clare's Community Center for years. The Soup Kitchen opened in the early 1980's.
With only 41 seats, as soon as someone finishes their lunch, volunteers clean up and Sister Maura welcomes the next family. And each child gets one of her famous lollipops.
"They are so happy and grateful. Many call this place the Holy Corner because when they come here they are treated with dignity. We help them," explained Sister Molloy.
St. Clare's dished out meals made with 17 large turkeys Monday thanks to generous donations from people around the community, and they had enough food for every guest.