SPOKANE, Wash. — It was an early Thanksgiving morning for Michael C. Brown and his three volunteers.
There was prep work to be done before they opened their doors at 9 a.m.
"It takes about three hours prep time. We've been prepping yesterday and early this morning," Brown said.
Brown is the executive director of the Spokane Eastside Reunion Association, which runs soul food restaurant Fresh Soul. He would be opening the doors to Fresh Soul on Thanksgiving morning, but not for a normal dine-in meal service.
The group was working to make 100 to-go meals to give out to those in need from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning. The meals included freshly made ribs, corn, potato salad and cornbread. On top of the food in the to-go containers was an envelope filled with $50.
All of the work comes in an effort to give back to the community.
"I just want to wish everybody a happy Thanksgiving," Brown said. "I believe this is probably one of the most important days of the year, bringing families together, individuals together and people that don't have families. They can still come to places like this to get something to eat."
Brown and his three volunteers got the food ready for their 9 a.m. opening. A line had formed at the door, and one by one, people entered Fresh Soul alone or with their family to grab a hot, free meal.
This marks the second year in a row that Brown has make meals to give out on Thanksgiving, and he wants to make it a tradition.
"We did it last year, and we want to make it an ongoing trend. This is all about giving back," Brown said. "God put it on my heart, and that's what I'm going to do."
After the initial rush, people came in sporadically to grab meals. All of them were thankful for the food.
"This is actually really great, because I just moved up to the area," said Chris Knudsen. "I don't have any family or friends around here right now. So, this is actually a real blessing for me today."
Brown also said he plans on giving out any meals that were remaining at 11 a.m. to people in need in the downtown area.