Waffle King offers free Thanksgiving meal for lunch

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MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) - A hot meal came free of charge for everyone at the Waffle King restaurant in Madison during the lunch hour.

Brenda Bryson and her husband purchased the diner in January 2014 and say they've been blessed ever since.

Thanksgiving, they say, is the time to pass on those blessings.

"We are blessed to sit down to dinner 364 days of the year," said Brenda Bryson. "But this day, we are serving someone else who can not sit down with family."

She says some of her regulars are homeless, transient, and military families, all of whom are often displaced for the holidays.

For a few midday hours, Thanksgiving foods were served up by volunteers who gave thanks by giving back.

"My family drove up from Florida to spend the holiday with my daughter, husband, and I," said volunteer Jessica Carter. "When they found out we;d be doing this for a few hours, they all wanted to help."

Carter's family also handed out 100 bags of toiletries for everyone who came in for the free meal.

Restaurant volunteers were joined by military personnel who know first-hand what it's like to not be home for the holiday.

"I'm fortunate enough to have a Thanksgiving, so why not give back to the community?" Jonathan Cilumba is in the U.S. Army and studying at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. "The community is our supporters, so reaching out is the least I could do."

Everyone from soldiers to seniors sat down to the free lunch, exactly as the owners intended.

"Just anyone today who needs a family to sit down and share Thanksgiving with," said Bryson.

"It's nothing to give time to serve someone else," said Carter. "Three hours can make someone else's whole day."