ABINGDON, Va. — Hundreds of people were served a full Thanksgiving meal on Thursday at Feeding America Southwest Virginia’s distribution center in Abingdon.

David Milsap, the branch director, said they had served about 400 meals by noon — many more than previous years. Last year, Milsap said, they served about 240 people.

About 10 people were in line at the distribution center on Gravel Lake Road waiting for a Thanksgiving meal at 10 a.m. Hot meals included turkey, dressing, gravy, green beans, fruit, rolls and dessert.

Milsap said he was unaware why so many stopped by Thursday, but several people were picking up meals for others. Several people, including a Bristol church, stopped by to take dinners to local homeless residents in the Exit 7 and 10 areas, Milsap said. He noted that more homeless residents than normal were served.

This was the 18th year the Harvest Home Community Kitchen, located at Feeding America’s Abingdon branch, has cooked and served meals on Thanksgiving Day to families in need.

Thursday’s event was in memory of James Keene. Milsap said Keene worked in the warehouse and recently suffered a heart attack and died a few days later. Keene’s wife, Petina Keene, manages the kitchen.

“We are glad to be able to help those,” Milsap said.

Several volunteers helped served meals Thursday, including mother and daughter Carrie and RuthAnne Cornett of Abingdon.

“We used to volunteer at church,” said Carrie Cornett.

The church stopped serving at Thanksgiving, so the pair decided to volunteer for the first time at Feeding America.

“It was a great experience,” Cornett said.

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rsorrell@bristolnews.com | 276-645-2531 | Twitter: @RSorrellBHC | Facebook.com/robertsorrelltn

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