PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Bay County Sheriff’s Office deputies are hosting a food drive called “Operation Thankfull” to help less fortunate families this Thanksgiving.

With Thanksgiving only 41 days away, the BCSO is working to ensure that no family goes hungry this holiday season.

“I was tasked with choosing 12 families to give Thanksgiving dinner to at one of our schools,” Bay County Sheriff’s Deputy Casey Melton said. “When I went to this school, the guidance counselor, I couldn’t believe I only asked for 12, she showed me a list of over 60 students who needed food.”

The nonprofit started in Bay County four years ago. In the first year, the BCSO fed 500 people. Since then, the sheriff’s office has fed 5,000 people and continues to grow.

“Operation Thankfull” provided meals to students in Bay District schools who are on a designated list and need assistance with food and supplies.

BSCO is asking for non-perishable foods that would most likely be on a Thanksgiving menu. Melton said they ran out of reusable bags and money for the turkeys.

“I hope not only that I feed people who need food, I hope it can also bring families together,” Melton said.

This year, BCSO is also making food donations to seniors through home care companies.

Even after Thanksgiving is over, BCSO will still take donations and leftover food to the local food bank.

Melton said that as sheriff’s deputies, their job is not just to enforce the laws, but to give back 100% and serve the community.