Hundreds volunteer to help feed the seriously ill

Story highlights

  • For volunteers, helping out on Thanksgiving is "the right thing to do"
  • Meals are prepared and delivered to people suffering from cancer and HIV/AIDS
  • 9,000 pounds of turkey, 1,680 pies are part of the traditional meals provided
  • The non-profit "Food & Friends" helps feed people with major illnesses throughout the year
Claudia Jones sang and danced shoulder-to-shoulder as she and fellow volunteers packed green beans for people they don't know on Thanksgiving morning.
"It's the right thing to do," said Jones, one of the hundreds of volunteers of all races and ages who showed up as early as 5 a.m. at the non-profit "Food & Friends." "We all have something to be thankful for, so we should help other people."
"Food & Friends" helps people dealing with catastrophic illnesses such as cancer or HIV/AIDS get the nutrition they need.
The group provides meals throughout the year, but the Thanksgiving Day deliveries were packed to feed four, allowing the often home-bound recipients to host a holiday meal.
Jones showed up for the second shift, at 7 a.m., to help package 9,000 pounds of turkey; 1,680 sweet potato, apple or pecan pies; 975 pounds each of cornbread stuffing and sweet potatoes; 650 pounds of cranberry sauce, and 4,440 dinner rolls to be delivered throughout the day.
Other volunteers continued to arrive to assist with cooking, packing and delivering the meals throughout the greater Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
Returning for her second year, Jones called the experience "a wonderful way to spend your morning before you sit down with your family."
Another volunteer, Andrew Altshuler, said he was visiting his fiancée and the two of them decided to continue her tradition of helping out on Thanksgiving.
"It is intense, and a good intense," said Altshuler, passing along whole turkeys to be packed in the large plastic food bags being distributed. "A lot of fun. A lot of people helping out. A lot of good stuff going."