Harbor Docks serves up Thanksgiving meals; benefits local charities (PHOTOS)

Jessica Coker
Three-year-old Macy Turner and her big sister, six-year-old Madison, joked, laughed and sang throughout most of their meal, entertaining both volunteers and diners with their songs about Thanksgiving.

Teaming up with Habitat for Humanity, Harbor Docks has been opening it doors and serving Thanksgiving to the community on the docks for almost two decades.

Now in it’s 18th year, folks were lined up out the door of the harbor-front restaurant to enjoy a free meal with all the trimmings.

Christy Jones, community development director for Habitat in Okaloosa County said it’s overwhelming to see the amount of support the community has for the entire day, noting people from all walks of life come to Harbor Docks for Thanksgiving.

"This year, we have 156 volunteers working in three shifts," Jones said.

The age of the volunteers varied from 8-years-old to more than 60.

Volunteers were tasked with everything from plating, running and serving food to making and serving drinks to bussing tables for the next guests.

However, the cooking was "left to the professionals from Harbor Docks, thankfully," Jones said.

Jon Terry, a sophomore at Niceville Senior High School, spent his third Thanksgiving at Harbor Docks volunteering his time as a busboy.

"It’s really fun, I like to help people," said 16-year-old Terry, as he carried a large bus tub full of dishes to wash into the kitchen.

Thanksgiving at Harbor Docks has become a tradition for many families, both locals and tourists alike.

Mona and Kemper Howe, of Houston, Texas, were seen gobbling up turkey for the 15th straight year at the local Destin eatery.

"We spend every Thanksgiving at Harbor Docks, we usually bring family and friends with us, this is the first year we're here alone,” Mona said.

The Texans said you’d be hard pressed to find a better Thanksgiving meal with a view like that of Harbor Docks, and the best part is all of the day’s donations go to local charities, Habitat for Humanity and Destin Harvest.

While Harbor Docks fed 1,524 diners a free meal, $19,500 was raised from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. to benefit local charities.