Thousands receive Thanksgiving meals in Orlando

Thousands of plates of Thanksgiving Day meals were given away at the Salvation Army auditorium on Orlando.

"I’m thankful," Tara Holmes said as she sat at the dinner table with her family.

Holmes brought five of her grandchildren, wanting them to experience the huge event Thursday morning.

"It's a blessing for everybody to even give this food out to us," Holmes said.

This Thanksgiving is different for Jen Tranter of Orlando and her family as times are a little too tight.

"We're needing a little extra help this year," Tranter told Fox 35's David Williams.

The extra help was there Thanksgiving Day, along with thousands of others for free.

"I'm thankful to have my girls, and all of our health, and I'm looking forward to better things coming," Tranter explained.

Almost 20,000 meals were given out Thursday. Volunteers dished out 3, 000 pounds of ham and turkey, and 15,000 individual desserts.

Spearheaded by Golden Corral and other sponsors, all of the food was free.

Eric Holm, President and Owner of Metro Corral Partners, told FOX 35 this is the 24th year of his “Helping from the Heart" program.

"We are truly changing lives, going from serving on one side of the table, to serving on the other," Holm explained.

There are at least 1,000 volunteers doing the serving.

Many of the volunteers, like JoAnn Wilson and her family, have helped for many years. It was their 14th year of volunteering at the event.

 "We've taught our family that Thanksgiving is about a lifestyle,” Wilson explained.  "Not about a day."

Golden Corral plans to continue the event next holiday season.