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Little Rock Compassion Center feeds hundreds for Thanksgiving

For Shawn Harden and James Coleman, the inside of the Compassion Center is a sight they're familiar with.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — For Shawn Harden and James Coleman, the inside of the Compassion Center is a sight they're familiar with.

"I was a guy, homeless on the street, eating [out of] garbage cans, and Dr. Holloway scooped me up, dusted me off, said, 'Get in the bible base, get this word in you, we gone feed you and help you,'" Harden said. 

"And so far, I'm doing a great job, you can see me, so I came back to show people it can work, it can happen."

Both Harden and Coleman were in rough patches of their lives when they first came to the Compassion Center – Harden was homeless.

But things have changed for them.

"It means a lot to me," Coleman said. 

"Yeah, I am doing better because of the Compassion Center and Dr. Holloway. Basically, I'm doing a whole lot better."

Their stories aren't uncommon to hear. 

Pastor William Holloway is the CEO of the Compassion Center. Thanksgiving is a day meant to be surrounded by family and friends and for Holloway, he is.

"I plan on being here next year unless God's got a different plan," he said. "Until then, I'm going to stay right here and continue to work."

That work includes why Coleman and Harden are here— the Compassion Center's Thanksgiving meal. It usually feeds hundreds, but this year is different as some are still scared to come out.

Plenty still came through Thursday; over 300 for lunch, and close to 700 expected to get meals throughout the day.

"Well one of the things I'm hearing, most people are very thankful that this dinner is taking place," Holloway said. 

"And a lot of times, people tell me if it wasn't for the center here, they wouldn't have gotten a meal at all today."

Being thankful is the reason for Thanksgiving and the reason why Holloway continues to do this.

"Well it's thankful to be able to give back to people, being able to help people, because one person could not do this on their own," he said. "It takes an entire community to help out."

And it's also why Coleman and Harden came back, they know the struggles some are facing firsthand, but also how to bounce back.

It's their reason to be thankful this year.

"And I have no choice to come back and show what God's done in my life, because if he can do it for me, a homeless guy who has nothing, he can do it for someone else," Harden said.

Pastor Holloway says supply chain issues left them concerned they wouldn't have enough food, but thankfully they have plenty to feed people through Sunday.