Posted on November 22, 2012 at 7:25 PM
Friday, Nov 23 at 10:56 AM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- There's no shopping at IKEA on Thanksgiving Day, that's because the store is closed to serve others. Families in need from three local organizations get to eat a warm meal and walk away with a gift.
"It makes me feel real special," Curtis Anthony has worked hard to get his life back together.
He's been at Hope Haven for years after being homeless on the streets at one time. So getting a warm Thanksgiving meal at IKEA means a lot.
"It means I know God is watching over me, yeah, and I'm not left out," said Anthony.
IKEA employees started days ago preparing the feast for nearly 500 people from Hope Haven, Salvation Army and Carolina Refugee Resettlement Agency.
"We have prepared 20 turkeys around 24 pounds each, about 100 pounds of sweet potatoes," said IKEA kitchen production manager, Noah Surface.
Plus dressing from scratch, Swedish meatballs, yummy pies and much more. IKEA workers say volunteering for them is a way to give back.
"I'm very fortunate for what I have and I think it's important to recognize the people who don't have as much as I do," said IKEA employee, Jennifer Kleucker.
"The general feeling amongst me and my coworkers is that it feels really good to be able to be here and help provide that for some people who otherwise might not have it," said Surface.
Jeneya Little has five children. She and her husband both overcame drug addiction and are thankful for the help.
"It does the residents of Hope Haven a good deal because we been through a lot, the children been through a lot," said Little.
And it's not just a meal, the children get a present for themselves, plus they get to pack a gift for their parents. For Anthony, the gift is not just a meal but knowing he's not alone.
“A lot of years I didn't think nobody cared, but people do care, and they taught me how to care," said Anthony.
IKEA bussed everyone from the three agencies to the store starting at 11:00 a.m. Volunteers planned to serve up until about 4:00 p.m.