While many people gathered with family to celebrate Thanksgiving, the Salvation Army provided dinner to those who have nowhere else to go.
Today's hot meal is just the start of a very busy holiday for the Salvation Army.
Thanksgiving is a day when many people are with their families. But a big part of what makes 8-year-old Lane Clark's Thanksgiving complete is serving meals at the Salvation Army.
"It's because that I want people to have a happy Thanksgiving with other people too," said Lane.
The Salvation Army serves meals every day, but today is a special day, where the homeless and those who need a family can come and take a break.
"For our folks that are living under bridges, or the riverbank, or wherever, it means a lot to be able to, just for the day, to get off that and come in and be a part of somebody's family, and be a part of a celebration of a day that's really special for most Americans," said Lt. Col. Charles White of the Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army fed more than 400 people today. This is just the beginning of their busy season.
This year the need is great. So far 4,500 Middle Tennessee families have applied for holiday assistance, from Angel Tree gifts to food vouchers.
"The need is great," said White. "Last year we saw a 27 percent increase and it looks like it's going to be at least that this year. This is an important time to reach out to the community and ask for help."
Families like Joseph Minard and his mother are grateful to these volunteers for the help and a hot meal.
"We just moved here so we got our place to live," said Minard. "We didn't have money after we paid the rent to buy food for this month."
It's proof that sacrificing a bit of time can make a big difference this holiday season.
Today also marks the start of the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign, which was kicked off during the Washington vs. Dallas NFL game this afternoon.
Copyright 2012 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.