Jinks Middle School hosting Thanksgiving feast

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Thanksgiving is normally a time for people to look forward to eating holiday staples like turkey and mashed potatoes, but after Hurricane Michael, some may not know where their Thanksgiving meal is coming from.

"Principal Smith [of Jinks Middle School] came to me and asked what I thought," Greg Bailie, Bay High School culinary teacher and coach, said.

The idea? To provide a Thanksgiving meal to Bay District Schools in the Bay High School area.

The Thanksgiving feast will be held at Jinks Middle School on Tuesday, November 20th from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Organizers anticipate families from Bay High School, Jinks Middle School, Oakland Terrace Elementary School, Cherry Street Elementary School, and some from Lucille Moore Elementary School.

"We started doing the math and I was like, 'Well, that's like 6,000'," Bailie said.

Feeding thousands of people may sound like someone biting off more than they can chew, but Bailie isn't alone.

"For whatever reason, I just felt that I had to make it happen some way or another," he said.

Lisa Gibby, the Vice President of Corporate Communications for Nestlé, said the company has helped by supporting the event financially and by providing Nestlé products.

"It's incredible and moving what this community is recovering from," Gibby said.

Bay High teacher Nancy Williams volunteered her time by pulling turkey apart. She knows what it's like to be impacted by Hurricane Michael.

"It's important that we as locals give back as well. It kind of takes your mind off what you're going through too," Williams said.

Who would've thought peeling a turkey could provide healing for volunteers?

"For me it's therapy. Me and my family lost everything. So to teach my kids that it's important to give back, regardless of what's going on, that's important," Bailie said.

As the kids are learning a lesson, they are also setting the example.

"We all came together in such a positive way after the storm to help clean up and get back to school and everything," Hannah Laird, Bay High School Senior Class President, said.

The work didn't stop once students got back to school.

She went on to say, "This Thanksgiving meal at Jinks, which is where Bay High is, it just felt like more of a drive to help."

The work will continue well after the holiday is over.

"Things aren't okay yet, you know, we've got a long road to go," Bailie said.

Despite a long road to go, some comfort food makes the ride a little easier to digest.