KENT, Wash. — For the second year in a row, Nana's Southern Kitchen set out to give away hundreds of Christmas meals to those in need.
Last year, 400 free meals were given away. But this year, the restaurant gave out 1,200 meals between its two locations in Kent and Covington.
More than 30 volunteers showed up Saturday morning to help the distribution process, which remained a drive-through service amid concerns over the COVID-19 omicron variant.
"God has blessed us with life and health,” said volunteer Ron Burroughs, who works at Microsoft. “Why should we not come out and be a blessing to others?"
Restaurant owner Todd Minor, who also works at Microsoft, said some volunteers were people he knew through work and some were strangers just wanting to help.
By 11:30 a.m., the restaurant's original Kent location had almost 50 cars lined around the parking lot.
Some people were there for themselves, while others picked up food for neighbors and loved ones.
Options for the meal included a choice of Nana's catfish, shrimp, chicken, or pork chops, and two additional sides.
Minor said the meal giveaway started in 2020 with 400 meals. After a difficult 2021, the restaurant made the decision to triple the number of meals to 1,200.
"In the time of uncertainty and chaos that we have with this pandemic, to come together to do something like this is warming," said Minor.
Nana's Southern Kitchen was born out of Minor and his sister Kyan's great-grandmother's belief that food can unite people.
"She always fed everybody. She used food to bring people together and teach them life lessons," said Kyan, who added there was no place she would rather be on Christmas morning than cooking food to make people happy.