Passionate volunteers serve up more than food on Thanksgiving

Twenty-six years of serving Thanksgiving meals to those in need of food or fellowship - that’s what Our Daily Bread’s Feed the 5,000 event in Seneca, S.C., is all about. And, Duke Energy is humbled to be a part of that experience.

Feed the 5,000 was started by volunteers in 1992 who served meals to nearly 300 people on Thanksgiving Day. The need for food service five days a week presented itself in 1996, and volunteers with Feed the 5,000 formed Our Daily Bread, a volunteer-led soup kitchen. Several decades later, Our Daily Bread is still serving the local community, and its signature Feed the 5,000 event averages 1,700 meals.

Feed the 5,000 Seneca, S.C.

This year, Feed the 5,000 served more than 2,000 people in Oconee County with help from 200 volunteers.

Richard Ledford, a Duke Energy retiree from Oconee Nuclear Station, has been with Feed the 5,000 since its inception.

“I was involved back then, but not invested,” Ledford said. “It wasn’t until later, when I became more involved as a board member, that I saw the people behind it – it became a passion. When people ask me, ‘What do you do for a living?’ I say that I live to do this. It’s become a part of my heart.”

For the third year, Duke Energy employees, retirees and their family and friends have supported Our Daily Bread’s effort. Meals are distributed to families in Oconee County near Duke Energy’s Oconee Nuclear Station and surrounding service territory. Each year, the Duke Energy Foundation donates $2,000 worth of turkeys and sides for the project.

“This is my first year volunteering for this event, and it’s been a humbling experience to know that my time here will help make sure hundreds of others will be able to eat this Thanksgiving,” said Carrie Dunton, site support director at Oconee Nuclear Station.

When people ask me, ‘What do you do for a living?’ I say that I live to do this. It’s become a part of my heart.

Duke Energy teammates and many other volunteers from the community spent Thanksgiving morning preparing turkey, cooking sides, bagging desserts, delivering meals and more. Volunteers arrive as early as 6:30 a.m. and work well into the afternoon. Duke Energy retiree Mike Adams has been cooking green beans at Feed the 5,000 for 15 years.

To learn more about Our Daily Bread, visit

The Duke Energy Foundation provides more than $30 million in charitable grants focusing on STEM education, early childhood literacy, workforce development, environment and community impact across the six states it serves. Employee and retiree charitable giving totals several million each year.


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