In 1987, Gerry and Keith Searcy developed this program to provide a Thanksgiving meal to a few single elderly shut-ins in the North Nashville area. Sister Naomi Libiak, Director of the Assumption Catholic Church Outreach Program, furnished them with the names and addresses of eight (8) individuals who met the criteria. The program steadily grew over the next years. Unfortunately, in 1997, Keith Searcy, who was born both mentally and physically challenged, passed away. After his death, the Parish Council named the program its current name in his honor.
The first year, Gerry purchased and cooked all of the food. Both she and Keith delivered the dinners to those in need. The following year, with financial assistance from a friend, they were able to deliver 15 meals. Since that time, the program has exponentially grown. In 2014, with the help of over 500 volunteers, more than 2100 meals were delivered on Thanksgiving morning. The volunteer crew is made up of friends, family, former colleagues from the Metro Courthouse where Gerry worked as a deputy criminal court clerk for 29 years, as well as others from the community. Volunteers have included mayors, vice-mayors, judges, politicians, coaches, attorneys, ministers, entertainers, local citizens, teenagers and children.
As the program has grown, Gerry’s role has evolved into one of directing and coordinating versus being involved in every detail and decision. Gerry still does all of the fundraising, most of the volunteer recruiting, assigning the volunteers to areas needed, as well planning the logistics of the day itself. She also plays a major role in purchasing and distributing the raw ingredients to the cooks. She has volunteers who search through the community to find names and addresses of those in need; she also has a publicist, an accountant, and a legal advisor. Each functional area has a team leader, such as the food line coordinator who supervises plate preparation and packaging. A delivery coordinator plans the delivery routes- assigning persons to each route and creating maps for each driver.
Special program features: