People lined up inside the Columbia Senior Center on Business Loop 70 to eat a hot Thanksgivng meal.
Everybody Eats is a tradition that started with former Columbia council woman Almeta Crayton. Every year for more than 20 years she provided Thanksgiving meals to those in need. Crayton passed away in 2013 and her god son, the late Kentrell Minton took over the tradition.
Columbia organization Powerhouse Community Development decided to take over this year in Crayton's honor. CEO Charles Stephenson said they served at least 988 people Thursday.
Minton's son, Kentrell Minton Jr. was at the event Thursday representing him. Minton Jr. said one thing he learned from his dad is that if you do good to others, good comes back to you and he plans to always send that message. He said watching people enjoy what his dad built brought him joy.
"It's best to look on the smiles of they faces when they come in and have nice meal," said Minton Jr.
It was Elizabeth Williams' first year coming to an Everybody Eats event.
"It was like being back home among people. It was just so welcoming and I felt like I could come down here and make friends," said Williams.
Williams added that she really enjoyed the food.
"Oh, the food was delicious. It tasted homemade," Willams said.
Minton Jr. said when his daughter is old enough, she will also volunteer so she will know how important it is to give back.
The Rotary Club of Columbia also made food for people in need Thursday.
The organization fried more than 350 turkeys. Volunteers stood in the cold and heat hours for hours to make sure the turkeys were ready on schedule.
They fried and packed turkeys from 4:30 a.m. until noon. Marty Walker, who has been with the rotary club for more than 20 years, was the master chef behind the food.
"It's possible because you know you're helping someone. That's the possibility, that you can take that heat, you can take the strain on the body and you can get up early knowing that someone, many people in Columbia are going to have a happy thanksgiving and have good turkey" said Walker.
The group said next year it plans to expand its turkey shack to cook more food.