GULFPORT -- Christine Tucker couldn't be with her own family Christmas morning.
But she was able to brighten the day for other families by joining about 250 volunteers in preparing and delivering meals to those in need.
Feed the Needy, now in its 26th year, delivered about 1,500 meals on Christmas Day.
"My family used to volunteer on Thanksgiving and Christmas," Tucker, 28, said. "I couldn't fly up to see them this year but being able to do this is really great."
The volunteers at the Lyman Community Center in Gulfport packaged the meals and prepared them for delivery, while laughing and greeting each other and occasionally singing Christmas songs.
Families in need of food could call any of the sponsoring law enforcement agencies in Harrison County to place an order.
"It fills the gap, because the other charities who provide food daily give their employees Thanksgiving and Christmas off," said Harrison County sheriff's spokesman Frank Baskett, who was making announcements during the meal preparations.
The group had had about 300 volunteers pack and deliver 1,800 meals on Thanksgiving this year.
He looked around at the crowd, he noted, "My goodness, do we have some volunteers in Harrison County."