Edward Smith invites 150 people for Thanksgiving dinner

WINNSBORO – Edward L Smith is a lifelong resident of Winnsboro who loves his family and his community.  If you asked him, he would tell you the two terms are synonymous.  To that end, for the last three years, Smith has handed out between 50 and 75 Thanksgiving turkeys to those who could not afford one, “So that would be one less thing on their back,” he said.

Smith | Photo: Barbara Ball

The turkey give-away helped families to celebrate Thanksgiving privately in their own homes. That tradition is continuing this year, but Smith is also starting a new one.

To honor his Grandmother Kay Peake, who passed away last year, Smith and his family are preparing a Thanksgiving meal for those in the community who do not have anyone to spend the holiday with.  Smith has invited them all – 150 so far – to his automotive shop at 74 Independent Road in Winnsboro for the family’s first community Thanksgiving meal.

“Thanksgiving and Christmas were my grandma’s holidays.  For her, it was all about family.  Grandma didn’t let anyone in the kitchen when she was cooking.  Everything she made was from scratch right down to the sweet potato pie and cornbread.  There was no store-bought or prepared foods,” said Smith. 

These are special memories for Smith.  He said his grandmother’s love of cooking for her family came from her three sisters, her aunts and her father who all cooked for the family when she was growing up.

In the vein of family members doing all the cooking, Smith’s community dinner will be no different. 

“To keep things sanitized, meat cooked to the correct temperature, etc., me, my sister and our kids, will do the cooking,” Smith said. 

It was in early November that Smith began posting on Facebook about his plans for the community dinner.

The response was immediate and, he says, heartwarming.

“I’m going to my grandpa’s at noon, but maybe I can come earlier and help you set up or something,” one man commented on Smith’s Facebook page.

Another wrote, “Do you need any turkey fryers? We won’t be using ours so we can bring it to you.”

One man who signed up to attend the dinner, said, “Thanks, Edward. You have no idea what this means to my wife and myself.”

A Winnsboro restaurant owner commented that she would supply individual silverware packets for the dinner.

The community support has come in the form of utensils, pans, warmers for the food, to-go boxes, etc.  Smith said that while he is not asking for monetary donations, he has received some and they are welcome. His cash app is $smithstowing17. 

“This dinner isn’t just for the homeless or those who can’t afford a nice meal, it’s also for anyone who doesn’t have friends or family to gather with for Thanksgiving. Some people, like some of those at my shop, are not from here and don’t have anyone to spend Thanksgiving with,” Smith said.  “We just want to make sure everyone has somewhere to go.”

“We’ll have to-go plates for those who want to take their food home,” he said. His daughter and nephew will be delivering plates to homes within a ten mile radius.

Smith says he wants his kids to look back 20 years from now and remember this first community Thanksgiving dinner. 

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Smith also expressed his gratitude to the community.

“Our business has been blessed.  We recently purchased Smith’s Mechanic and Tire Shop and Smith’s Towing.  The community has supported us.  We have not had an easy road to open a business during a pandemic but the community was behind us.” 

The community Thanksgiving meal will be held at his shop at 74 Independent Road in Winnsboro starting at 10 a.m. on Thursday. 

The menu was posted on Smith’s Facebook page: turkey, ham, cornbread dressing, giblet gravy, rice, black eyed peas, green beans, collard greens, mac and cheese, potato salad, yams, cranberry sauce. For desserts, there will be pecan pie and sweet potato pie.  Drinks will include sweet and unsweet tea, lemonade, and bottled water. 

So that he will have enough food prepared, Smith is asking those planning to attend to call ahead and give him a headcount. He can be reached at 803-815-1509.


  1. Thank you Edward for stepping up and doing this for the cummunuty
    So many people will be blessed this Thanksgiving thanks to you , your kids & other that helped

  2. Mike Bell says

    Thank you! Edward
    Great things come from good people like you!

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