TOWN OF HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for the largest soup kitchen on Long Island.

Dozens of volunteers proudly served hundreds of meals with all the fixings inside the Mary Brennan Inn in the Town of Hempstead.

For the 35th year in a row, the inn made it possible for people like Rick Shaw, who have nowhere to go on the holiday, to enjoy a traditional meal.

“It helps a lot of people who are very indigent, veterans, people with kids,” he said. “Some of these kids have no father at home and their mothers are trying to do it all.”

Some folks being served wanted to share their stories.

“I was out of work, I had a drug problem, and I came here. They hooked me up with a detox, they hooked me up with a new chance on life,” said Willie Duncan. “The Mary Brennan Inn is, in my books, a godsend.”

The inn managers say it’s simply their mission – opening their doors to all with no questions asked.

“Folks who come to the inn, they lack that important support system,” Rob Kammerer said. “So we serve as their neighbors. We’re their neighbors who help them out through tough times.”

Mike Jackson has been volunteering for 20 years. This year, he brought his twin 16-year-old sons so they could see how fortunate they are.

“I’ve known some family members years ago had to come to a place like this. They’ve since gotten back on their feet, and now they come and they volunteer,” he said.

That’s why volunteers say they’ll be there again Friday, dishing out Thanksgiving meals served up with some hearty sides of compassion and caring.

It’s a year-round mission for the Mary Brennan Inn. They’re open every day of the year.

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