A Tarrant County church on Thursday honored a nearly three-decade-old tradition, feeding hundreds of people on Thanksgiving Day.
For 29 years, the Fort Worth Christian Church has provided a hot meal on Thanksgiving to anyone in need. The church is led by Pastor Steve Vanzant.
“It’s a well-oiled chaos,” Vanzant said. “On a holiday you can get a meal anywhere, but people come here for the touch behind the food, man. People know they are accepted and loved.”
Vanzant said more than 1,200 people were fed on Thursday. This year, he expected a larger audience due to recent food shortages and families under economic pressure. According to the latest inflation report, the cost of groceries is 12% higher than a year ago.
The church also experienced challenges with declining membership and donations during the COVID-19 pandemic, Vanzant said. Still, he said generosity helped. Thursday there was plenty to do.
For Wayne D’Anza, a hot meal meant everything.
“I had two packs of ramen noodles left. So this was really great. My mom used to come to church here,” D’Anza said. “I looked at the paper and thought, I have enough gas to get here. I have enough to get me back. I will also get groceries.”
D’Anza told NBC 5 that he has been living outside his car. For him, good company on Thursday made the experience special.
“Everyone, they’re just…’me, me, me…my, my, my’… these days it’s nice to see someone living with a good heart and a good mind,” he said.
Many volunteers are also church members on Thursday. John Hamon helped prepare the turkey and other meats.
“We come back every year and volunteer, thanks to these people who are here. We’ll be back to do the same,’ Hamon said.
About 110 volunteers helped with the event on Thursday.