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Memphis restaurant offers Christmas meal for homeless

December 26, 2018
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In this Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018 photo, owner Wight Boggs opens up Huey's downtown restaurant on Christmas Day to serve free meals and hand out warm clothing in Memphis, Tenn. At Huey's the homeless were treated to turkey, sweet potatoes, other vegetables and homemade pumpkin pie. Employees also gave out coats and warm clothing. (Joe Rondone/The Commercial Appeal via AP)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A Memphis restaurant that offers a Christmas Day dinner for the homeless brightened the spirits of diners and volunteers alike on Tuesday.

Volney Ewing told The Commercial Appeal he woke up feeling down and missing his family on Christmas. So when he heard about the free meal at Huey’s Downtown, he went there to see if he could help.

At Huey’s the homeless were treated to turkey, sweet potatoes, other vegetables and homemade pumpkin pie. Employees also gave out coats and warm clothing.

“I just wanted to be around some love,” Ewing said. “Now I’m happy in spirit. I was down and I’m uplifted now.”

Fletcher Ferguson, who is homeless, said a restaurant worker found him and invited him to dinner.

“I was staying in the park, and he said, ‘Come on down here now. I got you,’” said Ferguson. “They give you real food, and they treat you really nice. I appreciate everything they’re doing.”

This year was the fifth year that Huey’s offered the meal, and assistant manager JP Townsend told the paper the restaurant serves between 150 and 200 people on Christmas.

“It’s a blessing that we’re able to feed the people that need it,” Townsend said.

Downtown Memphis resident Sarah Nickell volunteered at the meal for the fourth year in a row. She said she has seen people return year after year, some of whom have been able to get off the streets and now have a stable home and job.

“You go through like a life journey with them,” Nickell said. “It’s probably one of my favorite days of the year in Memphis.”

Nickell is a native of Birmingham, England, who became a U.S. citizen on Friday.

“There’s so much good in this city,” she said. “I’m grateful for everything it’s given me. If you need something, it will open its arms to you.”

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Information from: The Commercial Appeal, http://www.commercialappeal.com

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