GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Year after year, Mary Lacklen spends her Thanksgiving making sure thousands of people in Greensboro enjoy a festive meal.
“I like seeing the people who are on the receiving end, people are very grateful, and to me, it's a real start of the holiday season and the spirit of giving,” she said.
She’s the director of Community Tables, an organization that prepares Thanksgiving meals for various churches and nonprofits.
Community Tables has made a tremendous impact over the last 31 years, and for Lacklen, the work has been rewarding.
“I feel proud of the project. We’ve reached a lot of people. We've fed over 100,000 people during that time frame,” she said.
Lacklen says this year will be her last leading the project.
“It’s half my life and I just felt that it was time. It was very hard when Ken Conrad passed away. It was very sudden,” she said.
This is Lacklen’s second year leading Community Tables without Conrad.
In a fitting tribute to her friend and mentor, she asked the Greensboro Jaycees to take over moving forward.
Conrad was a Greensboro Jaycee Old Timer.
“We're extremely gracious for the opportunity. It’s something we do look forward to growing in the future, riding that momentum that she’s already created,” said Michael Boyer, executive vice-president of the Greensboro Jaycees.
“Hopefully it will continue in our community for as long as the need is there,” Lacklen said.