Cheerful volunteers and community members at Holy Covenant UMC serves 1600 meals, provides clothing, books, and bibles to Katy families on Thanksgiving Day.
People who responded to the invitation for a free Thanksgiving meal, were greeted with hugs, offers of prayer, and music that warmed the heart, then their tummies were filled with traditional Thanksgiving favorite foods followed by a distribution of donated books, bibles, blankets, coats, clothing, diapers/wipes, and non-perishable food items, that helped to ease the struggle of tough times, even if it was only for a day.
A long-standing Thanksgiving tradition
This year’s community Thanksgiving celebration, hosted by Holy Covenant United Methodist Church, saw record numbers of guests come through its doors. The weather was deliciously cool and sunny, which set the scene for a beautiful outreach that was taking place both inside and outside the HCKaty campus. The tradition began in 2003 with Antioch Church and has been hosted by multiple church communities throughout the years.
Randalls provided the Katy Community Feast with all the necessary turkeys and Midway BBQ supplied all the ham. Good Ole boys cooked the turkeys at no charge with a nominal fee for slicing and packaging while Westside Chevrolet contributed financially. Other goods or services contributed by local Katy businesses are as follows: children’s books from Katy Budget Books, Spanish bibles from Lifeway Christian Store, racks and hangers from Brammers, multiple breads and bagels from Panera Bread, piano music by renowned musician, Steven Jones, and photography services from Photographyfray. Most of these Katy businesses have supplied services, goods, or funds every year since the start of this annual outreach for which the steering committee is so very grateful!
Bible donations, fun for kids, and meals delivered
In 2017, twelve Katy churches supplied the funds, side dishes, and volunteers in ministry needed to make the 2017 feast possible. Those churches include: Alief Baptist Church, Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, The Church at Cane Island, Epiphany of Our Lord Catholic Church, First Baptist Church of Katy, First United Methodist Church of Katy, Grace Fellowship United Methodist Church, Holy Covenant United Methodist Church, Kingsland Baptist Church, New Hope Presbyterian Church, St. Peter’s United Methodist Church, and Trinity Baptist Church. There are some individual and classes from within the churches that provide goods, such as the Rejoice Sunday School Class at FUMC. They used their funds to purchase 35 bilingual bibles for donation. The Katy Community Feast has always been blessed by the services of Boy Scout Troop 557. Since 2011, those boy scouts and their supervising adults have directed traffic, received side dish donations as they are dropped off at the church, and assisted guests with carrying of packages to their cars.
A Kidz Corner was in full swing during the event. Acorn turkeys were crafted, pin the tail on the turkey games were played, and colorful drawings were made by many of the children who dined in or passed through. Two talented face-painters delighted the younger guests by creating their favorite design atop their smiling faces.
Most people in need of a Thanksgiving meal this year found out about The Katy Community Thanksgiving Feast during their visit to Katy Christian Ministries. Others may have learned of it through flyers distributed at the KCM Food Pantry, Christ Clinic, The St. Vincent de Paul Society at Epiphany of Our Lord Catholic Church, and Texas Children’s Pediatrics. Additional Feast invitations were posted in the local Katy newspaper and social media. People were asked to call in and pre-order their meals. Participants were invited to dine in, pick up meals to go, and if homebound, to sign up for meal delivery.
Help from nonprofit agencies for clothing donations and more
Five Katy non-profit agencies were on site this year to provide information about their services and answer any questions. They included: Christ Clinic (Lara Hamilton, Executive Director) Clothed by Faith (Abi Morton, Executive Director), Hope Impacts (Tina Hatcher Executive Director), Katy Christian Ministries (Deysi Crespo, Executive Director & Lily Rodgers, Social Services Director), and Pregnancy Help Center (Jeannie Z, Executive Director and Norma Zubiate, Volunteer Coordinator). Tina Hatcher has been bringing some of Katy’s homeless to the feast and distributing meals later in the day since 2013. Rona Lee, with Clothed by Faith, has been a part of the steering committee since 2015. Clothed by Faith sets up their large operation at the host church the day before and then on Thanksgiving Day is able to help address the clothing needs of those in attendance!
This Feast Day saw a flurry of activity from start to finish. The first family arrived at 7:30am and the last ones to be served came late at 2:45pm! Meal orders exceeded 1600 this year and the clicker count indicated that there would not be enough food to feed everyone. However, just as with the story of the loaves and fishes, no one left unfed! Leftovers were shared with the Krause Center. God is good all the time!
Katy, Texas is a special community. What makes it even more special is when businesses, churches, individuals, and organizations unite to serve a common good. people who responded to the invitation for a free Thanksgiving meal, were greeted with hugs, offers of prayer, and music that warmed the heart, then their tummies were filled with traditional Thanksgiving favorite foods followed by a distribution of donated books, bibles, blankets, coats, clothing, diapers/wipes, and non-perishable food items, that helped to ease the struggle of tough times, even if it was only for a day. However, the reassurance that there are neighbors that love you, that reach out to care for your needs, and provide resources that can help you through the days ahead, gives hope, hope that feeds the soul.