There were nothing but smiles on the faces of those who took time out of their own Thanksgiving holiday to give to others at 13 Bones yesterday.
Chef and part-owner of 13 Bones, Andy Reece, and Gray Gwyn, owner of Mount Airy Meat Center, got the idea a while back, that they would like to give to the community. So with the help of about 40 volunteers they did just that by preparing, packaging and feeding 1,300 needy people in the community. They called the event Friends Feeding Friends.
“Andy approached me about giving back to the community. So we contacted hospice, schools and churches to find those who would be in need of a free Thanksgiving meal this year,” Gwyn said.
Reece started preparing the meal on Tuesday. He cooked 140 turkey breasts in the six commercial ovens at the restaurant. The meals included turkey, dressing, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy.
“It’s unreal the amount of support we’ve gotten for this. It’s a big success and we are already planning for next year,” Reece said.
Ellie Needham, part owner of the restaurant, said the community has supported 13 Bones so much since it opened that they felt a strong need to give back.
“This all ties back into being local and supporting your community. We have been so blessed, so we wanted to give back. We only thought we would be serving about 1,000 meals, but we ended up serving 1,300,” Needham said.
Mount Airy Mayor-elect Deborah Cochran was one of the many volunteers who came to help out. She drove meals all over town to those who couldn’t come pick them up.
Tickets were given out to those in need. And while the meals weren’t to be given out until 11 a.m., by 10:30 a.m. cars where lined up all the way back through Sagebrush’s parking lot.
“I didn’t realize that that there are this many needy people in our community. I’m glad we were able to help out in this way,” Needham said.
Reece said he got to the restaurant at 6 a.m. to put the finishing touches on the meal. He said he used every pan he had. The restaurant was closed for Thanksgiving, so he said it was the perfect time to provide meals for the community.
Donations came from Mount Airy Meat Center, Horton’s Produce, M&M Signs, Tonya Oakley, Herb Inman, Kay and Barry Culp, Gary and Tammy Gant. Needham said more donations also came from loyal customers who gave anywhere from $10 to $100 for the cause.
Donations and volunteers also came from the Surry Longspurs chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Yadkin Valley Wheeling Sportsman.
“This is what Thanksgiving is all about, giving back,” Reece said.
Contact Mondee Tilley at email@example.com or at 719-1930.