SOURCE: Golden Corral

November 25, 2008 10:58 ET

'Helpings From the Heart' Dishes Out Thanksgiving Meal

Florida's Largest Thanksgiving Day Event Expected to Draw More Than 18,500

ORLANDO, FL--(Marketwire - November 25, 2008) - As families gather around the table to give thanks, Eric Holm -- "Helpings from the Heart" founder and franchisee of 26 Golden Corral restaurants -- and The Salvation Army of Orlando are inviting thousands to the state's largest Thanksgiving meal. The 16th Annual "Helpings from the Heart," which helps those that are in need and the homeless, will be held on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 27, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The Salvation Army of Orlando's gymnasium located at 440 W. Colonial Drive.

Last year, more than 18,500 people were served and this year more are expected. With the help of local Orlando chefs and 1,200 volunteers, turkey and all the fixins' will be dished out to guests. Cooking will continue until everyone in line has been served. Portions are unlimited and to-go meals are also available.

"When I started this event 16 years ago, the economy was in a similar situation. I looked around and realized how blessed my own family was and I wanted to share my good fortune with others," said Holm, who has 26 Golden Corral restaurants, including 10 in the Orlando area and 16 in Georgia. "We are honored to invite anyone in need to share Thanksgiving with our family."

Unlike other Thanksgiving Day feasts, "Helpings from the Heart" caters to those who need assistance, including people who are employed and have a home, but due to financial circumstances can't afford the added expense of a Thanksgiving meal.

Salvation Army of Orlando Area Commander Major Andrew Kelly adds, "You don't have to be financially 'in need' to come down for a free Thanksgiving Day meal. We also want to reach out to those who might be alone and just need company."

City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer is expected to help serve people. In addition, Sprint is a partner and provides cell phone stations for those who want to call friends and family members. Sprint representatives will even help guests locate and reconnect with lost family members or friends. Pepsi also donates beverages for the event, and MBM, a Golden Corral vendor, donates supplies.

Founded in 1973, privately held Golden Corral Corporation is headquartered in Raleigh, N.C. Golden Corral operates 493 restaurants in 41 states. Visit www.goldencorral.com.

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