RIFA volunteers spend Thanksgiving serving others

JACKSON, Tenn. — Many of us are spending Thanksgiving with our friends and family, but some of us aren’t as fortunate.

But for those who aren’t volunteers at RIFA are making sure no one has to spend the holiday alone.

“We even had cranberry sauce, we have sweet potatoes and green beans,” said Susan McFarland, who volunteers at the soup kitchen. “I think even Grandpa would be proud.”

For volunteers like McFarland,  Thanksgiving is not only a time to give thanks, but to give back.

“I didn’t want to just sit around family. I wanted to come out and do something for someone else,” said Nicole McKinney, who spent thanksgiving serving more than 300 meals to those less fortunate, or people who may be alone on the holiday.

“That’s what it’s all about, it’s about serving and helping other people,” McKinney said.

Volunteers say the soup kitchen never closes. It’s open every day of the week and gives anyone who walks in the doors a free meal, no questions asked.

“How great that God provides a place for people to come and feel safe be warm, be well fed and be treated with respect,” McFarland said.

McFarland says she volunteers on Thanksgiving not just to provide meals, but to spend time with other volunteers.

“This is part of my family, so I’m just thrilled to be here and get to spend time with them and hang out. It’s a lot of fun on holidays,” McFarland said.

With the holiday spirit in the air, many are remembering what they are thankful for.

“I thank God for my RIFA family, my new friends I met and my extended family,” said Lauretta Savage, who ate at the soup kitchen.

“You never know when it could be you, so whenever you get the opportunity, come out and help serve,” McKinney said.

RIFA’s soup kitchen is open for lunch Mondays through Fridays and for dinner on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Volunteers say all the food is donated by people in the community.

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