GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Happy Thanksgiving!

We at WNCT hope everyone enjoyed the holiday with good food, family, some football and some shopping. The special day was celebrated in many ways by many people around Eastern North Carolina.

From running events that helped raise money for good causes and warmed the hearts of those who participated to special meals that showed the love and generosity of the community, Thanksgiving in ENC was one to remember.

We had team coverage of the big day from WNCT’s Claire Curry, Sarah Gray Barr, Cheyenne Pagan and Caitlin Richards.

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USO celebrates Thanksgiving with special meal for service members

Many of our service members spent the Thanksgiving holiday away from their homes. The United Service Organization helped spread holiday cheer in the Onslow County area by visiting Marines in combat training at Camp Devil Dog.

With food, games and more, the USO wanted to make sure our service men and women know they are there for them.

“They spend 21 days in the field and then they move on to their next destination in the Marine Corps. But during the holidays, they get stuck here. So the USO comes in and brings that comfort of home,” said Center Manager for the USO NC Coastal, Megan Boggs.

Organizers said the best part of the day was sitting down and meeting with those who serve our country.

“We’ve just really brought the party to bring them, the comforts of home on the holiday,” Boggs said.

If you’d like to contribute or help the USO of Jacksonville, click here.

— Claire Curry

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Greenville Fire/Rescue ready for anything Thanksgiving brings

First responders have to be ready the moment an emergency call comes in, especially on a holiday.

Serving and protecting in Greenville is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week responsibility. While many emergency responders can’t be home for Thanksgiving, many still have family come by to be with them to enjoy a good meal. However, when the call comes in, they are ready to head out and respond.

“We’re here 24 hours a day,” Greenville Fire/Rescue Batallion Chief Jeremy Anderson said. “So there’s a lot of stress involved just with it. We’d all like to be home with our families on a day like today. But we also want to make sure that you know the city is safe, and it’s kind of a sacrifice you have to give to do this kind of work.”

Crews still get to prepare food in the department’s kitchen, and many family members do stop by to enjoy Thanksgiving with them. However, they are ready for anything and will respond immediately should the call come in for help.

“So obviously, everyone’s cooking today,” Anderson said. “So just a heightened sense of alert for all the different types of activities that are going on for Thanksgiving.”

— Caitlin Richards

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Runners gather in Greenville for good cause

Thanksgiving is one of the biggest running days of the year, especially in Greenville.

Beau’s Buddies hosts a yearly run for the holiday. Hundreds gathered outside Fleet Feet for their annual Turkey Trot for Tots. They gathered to run and also remember the legacy of Beau Stanley.

“Over one million people run on Thanksgiving Day, in over 1,000 Turkey Trots across the country,” said Chris Loignon, owner of Fleet Feet.

The money raised from Thursday’s event goes to Beau’s Buddies Cancer Fund.

“Beau Stanley was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, and ended up passing away when he was two and a half years old,” said Jeff Gaddis, president of Beau’s Buddies Cancer Fund. “So a group of people formulated this organization and it’s been going since then. And Beau would’ve been a senior in high school this year.”

Anybody who wants to find out more about Beau’s Buddies or contribute to their cause can click here.

— Sarah Gray Barr

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Carteret County families benefit from Thanksgiving event

A free meal from Hope Mission and Liberty Church in Carteret County helped families there who are struggling during the holidays.

With turkey, stuffing and all the fixings, those in need left with full tummies and a brighter spirit.

“Turkey, dressing, green beans, corn, potatoes, gravy, cranberry and an assortment of very delicious pies,” said Libba Hines and Autumn Delpino, volunteers who assisted with the meals.

In fact, this was the 10th year of the organizations giving back during the holiday. Officials said between 90 and 120 people came through, including some from the Hope Recovery Homes program. The program helps those suffering from substance abuse with shelter, care and recovery.

“It was really nice to have a home-cooked meal, you know, to people, you know, come down and take their time on Thanksgiving to feed us and, you know, pray with us. May, you know, feel very blessed,” said Dean McAnallen.

— Cheyenne Pagan

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Turkey Trot in Cape Carteret gets holiday started early

Walkers, joggers and runners in Cape Carteret got up bright and early Thursday morning for the Turkey Trot, hosted by the Gym Cape Carteret Center.

Over 400 participants completed a 5K, with the winners taking home pumpkin pies. Proceeds from the event will go towards completing the Cape Carteret Trail as well as helping one local Eagle Scout project to add little libraries along the route.

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Washington business gives back with Thanksgiving meal

Providing Thanksgiving meals for those who have nowhere to go is what Captain Cooks Waterfront Restaurant in Washington was doing on Thursday.

This was the fourth annual community meal that Captain Cooks hosted. The restaurant and volunteers come together to feed locals and live-aboard boaters who have nowhere to go for the holiday.

“As a child, you never understood, ‘it’s better to give than get,’ but as an adult, you definitely understand that better and it really is better to give than get … except I have to admit, I enjoy eating, too,” said volunteer Linda Haynes.

— Sarah Gray Barr