There were 29 people at First Christian Church's original Thanksgiving feast almost a decade back, growing to 72 last year – Sherry Davis isn't sure how many she'll see Thursday, but she hopes for more after the additional work the congregation's put into spreading the word this year.
“We don't care if you have something to bring or if you just bring yourself,” she said: either way, come hungry at noon Thursday to the Family Life Center at 609 E. Main St.
Eight years ago, Davis decided to do something for those who may not have a place to enjoy Thanksgiving, who may not have others around to share the meal.
“My mother was alive at that time. I was thinking about elderly people that didn't have family in the area, that might not have a place to go, and they would be by themselves that day.”
The idea appealed to other families in the church – especially to those among them tasked with preparing the annual family dinner. Rather than cooking an entire meal, they could pool their courses.
In addition to those in need on Turkey Day, “Quite a few families come and bring what they have, what they can do, and we put it all together,” Davis said. “It is a lot of fun. It's nothing fancy: we just are a group of people that get together.”
Hosting elderly guests through the years, Thanksgiving 2016 was the first time, she added, that people came in off the street and asked to join in the meal. They were certainly welcome
“We were excited about that,” Davis said, and the congregation has made an extra effort the past few weeks to put the word out: all are welcome. “It's just an outreach that we've tried to extend for the community.”
Some arrive early to help with the cooking. Others show up with dishes prepared. Many stay to help clean up, ultimately departing about 3:30 p.m.
Davis is hoping for about 60 people at this year's 'fellowship and feed,' but more would definitely be welcome.
Within the church alone, “We have people that are coming this year that didn't get to come last year,” and she'll be excited to see 70 or more faces at the table. There's often food left over: “Last year, I think we ended up making 15 to-go plates.”
For more information, contact the church at 903-984-3963.
“We've done a little more into the community this year. We've provided information to Helping Hands.
I'm kind of excited that it might actually grow into something where we can really reach out into the community and provide.”