LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Seven thousand meals will be going out to needy residents across East Texas thanks to volunteers with the Dream Center.
On Friday, volunteers put together boxes and bagged cookies and rolls that will be put in the meals that will also include corn, green beans, and ham.
"It's not only meeting an immediate need with a hot meal, but what it is really about is meeting the need of a person on a day that they might be forgotten on a day that can be very, very lonely," Dream Center Director Jeremiah Campbell said. "When we knock on the door and hand a meal to someone, it means the world to someone."
For the last seven years, The Dream Center and other volunteers have been handing out meals in the community. Three years ago, the Christmas Eve feed event was started with the group handing out 2,500 meals. Last year the group gave out 5,000 meals. Now the group is once again topping their gift.
"We just knew we had to go bigger than the 5,000 last year," Campbell said. "We knew that there was a need, so why not 7,000 for our 7th year?
We probably have close to 600 to 700 pounds of ham. I couldn't even begin to guess how many pounds of green beans and corn and rolls. We have 7,000 cookies to go in these 7,000 meals."
A meal this side needs a lot of help to be pulled off.
"Between churches, businesses, individuals we got all the food," Campbell said. "It's just really been a group effort."
Campbell said most of the volunteer spots have been filled for Saturday morning. He did say they need help delivering food at 11 a.m.
The feed comes just weeks after the Dream Center board announced that the in-house residency addiction recovery program would be canceled at the end of 2016. The center almost closed in May, but a $100,000 grant from the T.L.L. Temple Foundation kept it going. However, Director Jeremiah Campbell said in May it would take another $200,000 to keep the center running through the end of the year.
"Although it is sad we are closing that program, we are not going to be gone," Campbell said. "We are going to go back to grass roots. The things that started the dream center with the feeds in the community, that is going to continue."