Giving Thanks: Charity dinner breaks record at Harbor Docks

Savannah Vasquez
An assembly line of servers plate food for the masses.

Harbor Docks celebrated a record turnout for their annual Thanksgiving Feast this year with 2,012 patrons and the amount raised for charity also tipped the scales at $24,072.71.

“It ran pretty smoothly,” said long-term employee Jackie Tway. “We didn’t think we were going to beat last year, but towards the end of the night when we tallied up the numbers it was exciting.”

Last year the restaurant hosted 2,005 patrons and raised $22,337 for local charities Habitat for Humanity and Destin Harvest so this year’s monetary increase was significant.

When asked if there was enough food to go around given the 200 turkeys, 800 pounds of ham and 100 pounds of dressing, Tway said there were even leftovers.

“Oh yeah, we had to give leftovers to Destin Harvest to take to churches and facilities to feed others,” she said. “Hams we ran out, but turkeys we had leftovers because we upped the poundage from last year. Cranberry sauce and bread ran out, but we made it through.”

As for the volunteers, this year’s count came to 150 helpers not including Harbor Docks staff who also give freely of their time on Thanksgiving.

"We organize the volunteers and we work that day and then split the donations between us and Destin Harvest," said Okaloosa Habitat for Humanity Community Outreach Director Melissa Forte. "This year it was great, everyone was full of energy. We had a lot of people happy and thankful to be there."

Tway said looking to next year the plan is to just keep growing and keep giving.