Volunteers cook, deliver dinners

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Willie Williams has been living on the streets for years, but on Thursday he sat down to a traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings.

He has battled addiction for about 20 years, he said, and he admits living on the street for so long that he has grown accustomed to not eating.

But he is trying to turn his life around.

On Thursday, he was one of hundreds fed through Operation Christmas Feast.

"No one feeds on Christmas. Everyone feeds on Thanksgiving," said Diane Koehne, who organized the event and coordinated more than 100 volunteers.

She hoped to feed 2,000 homeless people and shut-ins by the end of Christmas Day.

Volunteers arrived as early as 5 a.m. to begin cooking for those who could make it to the Salvation Army.

For those who couldn't, meals were prepared and delivered to housing projects, neighborhoods and even to street corners, wherever a hungry mouth could be found.

"It's awesome that we can all come together," Ms. Koehne said. "You are blessed. Now give back."

This is Christmas to her family, she said.

Tannar Singer, her 9-year-old daughter, said the work is hard, but rewarding.

"Whatever I have I want to give to them," she said.

Sandra Wimberly, another volunteer, grew up in the "hood" and said it is important for her to give back to her community.

"They need to see people who made it come back," she said. "I just feel since I've been blessed that I can certainly bless other people."

Ms. Wimberly said her family is fortunate, so she took time out of her holiday to care for those who aren't. There is still time in the day for family, she said.

Operation Christmas Feast is entirely the work of volunteers.

"You're seeing the CSRA coming together," Ms. Koehne said. "It just works. I don't know how it works."

She said she and her family hit the streets passing out flyers, spoke through the media and relied on word of mouth to attract those in need and those looking to contribute to the effort.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

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SargentMidTown
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SargentMidTown 12/26/08 - 02:28 am
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Willie Williams said that he

Willie Williams said that he has battled addictions for 20 years. He probably has not hit rock bottom because of the give a way programs. These charities enable drug addicts and alcoholics. The people who give to these charities should be required to live where the homeless drug addicts hang out. As long as charaties create saftey nets for the homeless..the homeless population will continue to grow. support www.hongkongaugustaga.org

wcr250
71
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wcr250 12/26/08 - 05:21 am
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I think sarge is

I think sarge is right
tough,but right

Alexander
0
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Alexander 12/26/08 - 08:58 am
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Hate masquerading as "tough

Hate masquerading as "tough love" is still hate.

SCGAL53
0
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SCGAL53 12/26/08 - 09:11 am
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Sarge- stop being a hater.

Sarge- stop being a hater. You act like everyone living in poverty is also a criminal. Shame on you for making such negative comments. Not everyone choses to be homeless.

i.b.e.w..electric
0
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i.b.e.w..electric 12/26/08 - 01:41 pm
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you can tell sarge is a

you can tell sarge is a republican,the hell with the needy is part of their doctorine.

sueboo418
55
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sueboo418 12/26/08 - 02:50 pm
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Sargent...Allot of the

Sargent...Allot of the homeless and poor DID put themselves in that position for whatever reason, drugs, alcohol etc. but who are we to judge them? We don't know why they turned to that life, and maybe some of them COULD do something about it but I know addiction to drugs and alcohol is a tough battle to conquer and those demons can take the best of us down in a skinny minute! I watched a family member years ago hit rock bottom because of alcohol and thanks to the giveaway programs as you call them, he is now a Christian, went back to school and has a great job.

lady_alessandra
3
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lady_alessandra 12/28/08 - 05:08 pm
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Sorry i.b.e.w, I'm a

Sorry i.b.e.w, I'm a republican and guess what - I give to CHARITIES such as the Golden Harvest food bank and to my church which has a food pantry and clothes closet.

FallingLeaves
31
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FallingLeaves 12/28/08 - 07:32 pm
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you can tell sarge is a

you can tell sarge is a republican,the hell with the needy is part of their doctorine.
Posted by i.b.e.w..electric on Fri Dec 26, 2008 12:41 PM
The above quote describes a myth created by some of the liberal media. I know more Republicans that give to charity than Democrats. I don't know any Republicans that receive charity, but I do know of a few Democrats that do. I only know one Democrat that gives to charity. That just happens to be my individual observation; I'm not inclined to or going to make any blanket generalizations about it.

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