Head chef Vida Dixon and more than 100 volunteers were busy early Thanksgiving morning preparing meals for families at Miami's Camillus House. She told NBC 6 South Florida she's thankful for the help from the volunteers.
Head chef Vida Dixon and more than 100 volunteers were busy early Thanksgiving morning preparing meals for families at Miami's Camillus House.
At least 600 people, a number doubled from last year, will be served a traditional meal that includes yams, beans and 150 turkeys.
"It's a lot of work," Dixon told NBC 6 South Florida. "Thank God for the volunteers and the help that they give us."
The crew began working Saturday to clean, cut and cook for South Florida's men, women and children most in need.
"I think about the people," Dixon said. "It's not just a job. I love doing what I do."
Camillus House was at its new location Thursday,
"Anyone that's hungry and don't have anything to eat, they're welcome to the Camillus House," said Rev. Rodney Walker. "That's what the Camillus House is for."
George Castillo, who has volunteered with the organization for the last 10 years, was the first volunteer at about 5 a.m.
"I've been very blessed with the fact that I have a good job -- good paying job -- I drive a nice car, I live in a nice place, and you know, if I had more time I'd be happy to do this more often," he said.
Willie Phillips, one of the hundreds who will be served Thursday and one of the thousands Camillus House helps annually, appreciates the effort.
"Very thankful for this place and for whoever created this organization, and I just wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving," he said.
Mayor Tomas Regalado attended the dinner.
"I think that today is a great day for human dignity because just to be homeless doesn't mean that you have to eat out there in the cold," he said.
Although Camillus House said it will probably be serving leftovers in the coming days, it continues to accept canned goods, dry goods and packaged meats.
Meanwhile at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Hollywood, more than 200 men and women satisfied their appetite with turkey and trimmings.
"Oh the food's great, and I’m thankful to everyone for their help," said Anthony Peat.
Ruth Anderson, who thanked volunteers for their time, said she needed the food after an unfortunate event in her life.
“In March I lost my job and became a little bit homeless,” she told NBC 6 South Florida.
The event, which was a partnership between the hotel and LifeNet4Families, was the fifth annual hunger campaign. It's raised $5.5 million to feed 5.5 million children for one day.
“This morning at 15 Hard Rock Cafes across the United States and Europe, there’s hard rockers that have gotten up and are feeding their communities from California to Orlando to here in Hollywood, and Berlin and London," said Hard Rock Cafe general manager Scott Jacobs. "It's all about getting out there and helping people that just need a hand.”