Volunteers prep, deliver more than 500 meals to local homeless camps

BURKE, Va. -- A group in Prince William County is making a Thanksgiving tradition out of giving back to families all over the DMV.  This project started as one person’s small vision, and is now a major operation that is reaching hundreds of families that are in need.

Thursday, volunteers with The 25th Project fed more than 500 homeless people between Prince William County and the District.

The kitchen was packed even before the sun came up.  From ham and turkey, to cranberry sauce, and everything in between the volunteers made it, prepped it, packed it, and delivered it.

Jay Herriott is the mastermind behind the operation.

“Fourteen years ago, I started by myself, I went out and went to Boston Market, got a meal for eight, and went downtown and had Thanksgiving with seven homeless guys,” he told DCW50 while meal prepping.

Herriott said The 25th Project is something he started, simply because he was hungry.

“I had been working all day, and was ready for Thanksgiving dinner, ready to go watch some football, and I saw the meal for eight people and said you know I’ve got to do something for somebody else,” Herriott explained.

Fourteen years later, this Thanksgiving, he was joined by more than 200 volunteers – providing food and friendship to more than 500 people in homeless camps across the DMV.

Five years ago, Rob Miller was on the receiving end of The 25th Project’s thanksgiving meals.

“I was already homeless and Jay, he came through to our camp with hot meals,” Miller told DCW50.

This Thanksgiving, Miller was a volunteer.

“The homeless need these meals because they are thinking that somebody is thinking about them on thanksgiving, and that is a big deal because they are already depressed being out there,” Miller expressed as he loaded a truck full of food.

In fact, hundreds of people were thinking about them, working together, to make a small difference.

And just maybe – that is what thanksgiving is all about.