Dozens stepped inside the John C. Harris Community Center on Tuesday, escaping a drizzly, cool evening and taking shelter with a warm meal.
For Thanksgiving, a holiday known for feasting and sharing, a group of local friends served turkey and traditional sides to anyone who walked in the door, as holiday music played overhead.
Maurice Bishop, RJ Pittman, DeShawn Stallworth and Jordan Lottes, who partner in a promotion business called OneLife, organized the meal. They gathered donations from the community and welcomed volunteers clad in red "1Life" shirts to help serve attendees.
Pandemic precautions were in place — volunteers and attendees wore masks when not eating and temperatures were checked at the door. Out of a respect for social distancing, many stopped in only briefly to pick up a meal before heading home.
"It turned out great," Bishop said later. "I believe we ended up serving right around 200 people, maybe a few more."
They also delivered many meals to those stuck at home.
"I'm glad we ended up implementing delivery as an option," Bishop said.
The OneLife organizers have said they hope to serve the community again this Christmas season and plan on turning the Thanksgiving meal into an annual event.
"We believe in having that one life — we want it to be the best for everyone," Bishop said. "We want to improve or influence everyone's one life in the best way possible."