Family keeps tradition of feeding on Thanksgiving alive

The Kelly’s had turkey, gumbo, gravy, dressing, potatoes, corn, pumpkin pie – you name it!

Julie Massengill and her family continue the tradition of serving a free Thanksgiving lunch.

The tradition started 39 years ago in the restaurant of her sister, Mr. C’s in Bay St. Louis.

Once the family exited the restaurant business, Massengill – along with her five children and volunteers – continued to serve more than 600 people each year.

“My family really wanted to give back to the community,” says Massengill, the events coordinator. “And so many people came while they had their restaurant, came every year and they didn’t want to lose that and that from the community.”

This is a volunteer and her father’s second time volunteering at the Kelly Dinner.

Anna Goretski travels from Florida to spend Thanksgiving with her family on the coast.

“It’s a good time to give back this Thanksgiving Day,” Goretski said. “You can smell those potatoes and that turkey all day long and it’s just so good to know you’re helping other families in need.”

“My son had other plans and I said go ahead, so I had plans with my boyfriend and her brother,” said Helen Peters, a dinner attendee. “Mom and my stepfather passed away, so this is a good place to cheer you up.”

The Kelley family has no plans to stop their family tradition, it is passed down through the generations by delivering hot meals in Hancock County or personally making plates at the community house every Thanksgiving from 11am to 2pm – or until the food runs out .

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