VALDOSTA – For the first time since its inception, 15-year-old Noah Jenkins helped serve the community free meals at the 100 Black Men of Valdosta Thanksgiving Fest Saturday. 

He stood beside his mom, Eileen Jenkins, as they joined other volunteers at the Salvation Army feeding residents green beans, dressing, cranberry sauce, turkey and desserts.

Striving to assist at least 1,200 people, the 100 prepared 50 turkeys, 35-40 pans of dressing, 35-40 pans of green beans and corn for the occasion.

Eileen Jenkins noted the group’s positivity deeming their influence as a reason why she brought her son to the community event.

“We’re just trying to show him that there’s other people that’s out there that’s trying to make a difference. … The 100, they’re a positive group,” she said.

She added the 100 Black Men of Valdosta consistently attempts to assist people, a trait she wants her son to learn.

“We’re just trying to teach him to give back, trying to show him that the 100, they stand for something,” Eileen Jenkins said. “They (are) black men trying to be positive.”

Residents were not required to be on-site to benefit from the Thanksgiving Fest.

Nathaniel Haugabrook, president of the 100, said more than 150 plates were delivered to Lowndes County nursing homes.

Aly Holmes, children’s advocate for The Haven, arrived to pick up 23 meals for her agency’s clients.

“It’s awesome,” she said of the fest. “I know the ladies and the kids will really appreciate it.”

The Haven usually offers a big meal to its clients on Thanksgiving Day, but Holmes said the meal was a nice treat for them.

“It’s great to have a meal provided for them and I know it makes them feel special and not forgotten,” she said.

The Thanksgiving Fest started in the early morning hours and went into the afternoon. 

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