COLUMBIA - Hundreds of volunteers gathered to serve a Thanksgiving feast to the community Thursday, in honor of the Former First Ward Councilwoman Almeta Crayton.
Crayton passed away October 2013. The executive director of Almeta Crayton's philanthropy, Kentrell Minton, said since her passing, the "Everybody Eats" event has been about making sure her legacy lives on.
"Almeta believed that no one should go without food, love and family and support on this day, for the day we give thanks; and that's what we're doing," said Minton.
This year was the 19th annual Everybody Eats Thanksgiving dinner, which feeds 450 to 500 people each year. But this year, it was at a new new location.
"When we found out we couldn't have it over at Stephen's, we were kind of shook up," Minton said. "Every place we called turned us down because it wasn't big enough, you know, so many stipulations."
However, for Minton and the event's 200 volunteers this year, the Columbia Senior Center was a dream come true.
"This center that we're at right now, the center of the seniors, it's home. This is our home," Minton said. "They really showed my team the reason why this must go on."
Chris Napp, a 4-year volunteer who was there when Crayton still headed the event, explained why it was so important the event continued on after she passed.
"Almeta's vision of everyone coming together and everyone having an opportunity to have a Thanksgiving meal, that was really important," Napp said. "It's just important to be able to bring these people together."
"This needs to be a city-wide event as far as mayors and governors and other city officials," Minton said. "They need to know that their town loves them, as well as Almeta Crayton."