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Free Thanksgiving food for those experiencing homelessness: Sumter residents accepting food, clothing donations

Tee and Sam Roberts started Gift of Love Ministry to help those experiencing homelessness and lower income residents. Now, they're preparing for a Thanksgiving feast

SUMTER, S.C. — Gifts of Love Ministry, a Sumter nonprofit, is collecting food and clothing donations to give out on Saturday at a free Thanksgiving Brunch, benefitting those experiencing homelessness and lower income residents.

"If we had a cookie, break it in half and share it with your classmates or your neighbor," nonprofit founder Tee Roberts told me.

That’s a lesson Roberts' parents taught her growing up.

"One day I was just like why not just start a ministry here in Sumter, because we see so many, you know, less fortunate families, the homeless, when we drive around town," Roberts explained.

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Now, she’s living out that motto everyday alongside her husband, Sam.

"We don’t have a whole lot, but we’re good. And a lot of people don’t have nothing," Sam explained. "And doing this, I’ve learned that people are going through some hard times, and so if you can help 'em with a little bit, that makes me feel a whole lot better."

Those times can feel especially difficult during the holiday season, Sam tells me. That’s why the couple is hosting a Thanksgiving Brunch for the community. 

"You know there’s a lot of families out there that can’t afford a $20 turkey," Tee explained.

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On Saturday, they’ll be cooking meals and giving out clothing donations they’ve collected from the community.

"It’s a feeling that you cannot express. I mean just to see, like, going out there to feed the homeless and see their smile," Tee said. "Even if you give them a sandwich and a bottle of water, just to see that they can have something to eat that day. And they’re smiling saying thank you. It’s just a feel that you can never explain. It’s a good feeling."

They will have everything from turkey and ham to mac and cheese and green beans. The event is at South Sumter Park tomorrow morning starting at 11 a.m. and running as long as the food lasts.

Those interested in donating food or clothes can email Tee at thuyrob@gmail.com.

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