MIAMI (CBSMiami) – While most of South Florida slept in Thanksgiving morning, dozens of men were busy whipping up a holiday feast for thousands more people arriving soon.
“We feed people here every day, over a thousand people every day,” Longtime leader and chef Calvin McFadden said.
McFadden has been the chef for 13 years now, returning the favor to the mission after it helped him get back on his feet.
“I was homeless once and I came in here and I worked hard and I continue to work hard and give something back,” McFadden told CBS4’s Donna Rapado. “We have drug addicts; we have alcoholics and people who are homeless. So once you come here, you get your life back together and you can reach out and help somebody.”
Mcfadden and his crew started cooking turkeys and fixings two weeks before Thanksgiving.
They bake 200 turkeys, vats of mash potatoes, tray after tray of stuffing, and so many plates of pumpkin pie.
The rescue mission helps men get their lives back on track in many ways, including spiritually. A special service was tucked between breakfast and the thanksgiving feast.
David Febles was one of those men. He went to the mission for help seven years ago and still goes back each thanksgiving with his daughter Gabriella to remember what’s important.
“It keeps us together,” Febles said. “We went through some hard times back then. And it’s just one way to relish back to the hardship and see that are still struggling.”
As Thanksgiving morning unfolded, music started pumping, the men got free haircuts and grooming and the block party began, tables lined up outside in front of the mission.
Meanwhile, hundreds of volunteers put the final touches on lunch and prepared to serve.
“We’ve been here since very early setting up,” said Jennifer Diaz of Doral.
Jennifer volunteered last year and returned to help nourish the bodies and souls of those less fortunate, and her own.
“It makes me feel grateful because it goes to show how blessed I am already,” said Diaz. “I’m fortunate enough to live a blessed life. So I feel really happy giving back.”
By the time the feast was said and done the mission served nearly 3,000, all thankful for good food, good music and good people.