Plenty of Room at the 'King's Table' for Thanksgiving Dinner

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Marianna- Wednesday was going to be a long night for Duane Gregg.
"I have some guys who come out and help me stay up all night and cook- and keep me company" he said.

He was going to be smoking turkeys for Marianna's King's Table Thanksgiving feast. Gregg's volunteered to cook the birds every year and this year was no exception.

"We smoke them for 10-12 hours to have them ready for the morning" he explained.

This Thanksgiving will be the 6th year for the King's Table, but it's sponsor, Innovative Charities of Northwest Florida has been feeding people in the panhandle year-round.

"We deliver everything that we do- our groceries, our hot meals- throughout the year. And then, on Thanksgiving we always have a big Thanksgiving dinner" said Innovative Charities President, Joy Gilbert.

Preparing and assembling the meal has always been a huge, but worthy undertaking Gilbert said.

By 11:00 A.M. Thursday, 20 birds will be smoked and served. Gregg said it would be enough food to feed up to 400 people. And Gilbert told us, everyone was welcome to pull up a chair at the king's table.

"Part of our volunteers will just be there to visit with people and make them feel like they're not alone in the world" Gilbert said.

As the economy has struggled to recover, Gilbert told us the event had continued to grow.

"More and more people, especially seniors, are needing help. As a very little increase in social security, and yet food prices continue to rise" Gilbert explained, "and, they're not the types of food on the criteria to set the rate for social security."

Innovative Charities of Northwest Florida has always been driven solely by donations and volunteers who were willing to give up part of their holiday. "Tomorrow will be fun" Gilbert said smiling.

The meal is slated to start Thursday at 11:00 A.M. and will run until 1:00 P.M. in the Marianna Grocery Outlet parking lot off Highway 90.

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