Southside students preparing holiday meal for community

SOUTHSIDE, AR (KAIT) - Most people will spend Thanksgiving with their families, but what about those who have no one to dine with Thursday or simply cannot afford the turkey and trimmings?

For those people, a group of students in the Southside School District is stepping in and offering some help.

Members of the Southside 4-H Club will host their annual Thanksgiving dinner at the high school cafeteria from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday.

The menu will include all the traditional holiday food items and will be provided at no cost to anyone that wants to attend.

"We'll have all kinds of food," said Lane Callahan, the local 4-H club president, "and it's completely free."

Callahan says the 4-H club first began offering this meal six years ago, and attendance has grown considerably since that time.

In 2006 the group counted more than 150 people at its inaugural dinner, but attendance climbed to 369 last year.

Organizers attribute that growth to their group's additional efforts to help the hungry.

The 4-H club opened a food pantry on the Southside school campus last year and now serves more than 300 people each month.

A record number of people are expected to attend the meal Thursday.

"It touches my heart that people come to us as a community, so we can serve them," said Tyra Stubbs, a Southside freshman and 4-H club member.

Stubbs and her friends came back to campus Wednesday even though administrators canceled classes for the rest of the week due to the holiday.

They helped prepare some of the food and set the cafeteria tables in anticipation of a large crowd Thursday.

Thanksgiving provides people with a chance to reflect on what they appreciate most, and those who plan to attend the meal Thursday will undoubtedly be thankful for these students and their generosity.

"Helping out this many people, it's probably the best feeling ever," Callahan added.

Anyone who would like to grab a bite to eat or even volunteer should stop by Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Southside High School cafeteria, located at 70 Scott Drive in Batesville.

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