Volunteers pack Ocoee HS, preparing to spread Thanksgiving cheer

Boxes to be delivered Thursday morning

By Jennifer Ortega - Reporter

OCOEE, Fla. - Volunteers at Ocoee High School worked into the night Wednesday, packing thousands of boxes to be delivered on Thanksgiving.

"Just giving back to other people, it's well worth (it) this evening," volunteer Mark Naughton said.

Hundreds of volunteers of all ages came out to lend a hand to the Southeastern Food Bank.

This year marked the 25th year that the organization, alongside Publix supermarkets, has been giving to families over the holiday season. 

"There was only like, 14 families -- and now we're doing somewhere between 1,000 and 1,200 tomorrow," founder Mark Anthony said. "We pack and deliver right to their door."

It's a tradition the group has continued for years. 

"This is my sixth year," Naughton said. "I do it for Christmas and Thanksgiving and Easter. By the end of the night, (there will) probably be like, 400 people through here, so it's a lot of fun."

Boxes on top of boxes were getting packed and ready for delivery Wednesday night, and even the smallest of volunteers pulled their weight.

"I'm mostly sorting snacks and home goods and more stuff," 8-year-old Taylor Thigpen said.

After the food is sorted and packed, on Thanksgiving morning, the boxes will be taken to families in need across Central Florida. 

"We get our hands dirty (and) we have a lot of fun," volunteer Angela Naughton said. "We have a lot of fun meeting new people every year and just getting it all ready."

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