HYATTSVILLE, Md. (WUSA) -- On a day when many restaurants are closed for the holiday, one Hyattsville hot spot couldn't be busier, serving up hot turkey meals for the homeless.
Carolina Kitchen's owner has been doing this for 10 years. He closes his restaurant to patrons but opens his heart to the homeless.
They came by the busload.
Greeted with the signature hello:"Welcome, welcome, welcome!"
And their famous cornbread muffins
Three-year-old Kennedy and her mother Kendra Smith enjoyed a hot meal at Carolina Kitchen turned soup kitchen on Thanksgiving.
"An opportunity to have a good meal and feel welcome, I'm thankful for a lot," Kendra said.
They've hit a rough patch just like Ebony Henderson and her 10-year-old son, James. "Times are tough but we're making it through."
She's been living at a homeless shelter for the past five months, but still has much to be thankful for.
"We are so blessed to be here today," she said.
Volunteers haven't stopped cooking since Wednesday and they plan to serve more than 500 meals Thursday, and that's on top of the hundreds that have been pre-ordered and are being delivered to area shelters.
Lance London is Carolina Kitchen's owner.
"Makes me feel good inside, makes my staff feel great inside, folks give to us all year round and it's only right for us to give in this incredible time of year. When I see those faces, it makes it oh so special," he said.
He remembers starting this tradition 10 years ago, when only 15 people came to his restaurant, and now marvels at how much the need has grown.
"I truly believe if you're helping others, you get what you want. My father taught me that years ago," he said.