A Tarrant County church upheld a nearly three-decade-old tradition Thursday, feeding several hundred people on Thanksgiving Day.
For 29 years, the Christian Church of Fort Worth has offered a warm meal to anyone in need on Thanksgiving. The church is led by Pastor Steve Vanzant.
“It’s well-oiled chaos,” Vanzant said. “You can get a meal anywhere on a holiday, but people come here because of the touch behind the food, man. People know they’re accepted and loved.”
Vanzant said upwards of 1,200 people were fed Thursday. This year, he anticipated a larger crowd due to recent food shortages and families experiencing economic strain. According to the latest inflation report, grocery costs are up 12% compared to one year ago.
The church also experienced challenges with membership and offerings declining during the COVID-19 pandemic, Vanzant said. Still, he said generosity has helped. There was enough to go around Thursday.
For Wayne D’Anza, a warm meal meant the world.
“I had two packages of ramen noodles left. So, this was really great. My mom used to come to church here,” D’Anza said. “I looked up at the newspaper and am like, I’ve got enough gas to get me over here. I have enough to get me back. I’ll get groceries too.”
D’Anza told NBC 5, he has been living out of his car. For him, good company Thursday made the experience special.
“Everybody, they just…’me, me, me…my, my, my’…nowadays, it’s nice to see someone live with a good heart and good spirit,” he said.
Many volunteers Thursday are also church members. John Hamon helped prepare the turkey and other meats.
“We come back and volunteer every year, because of these people that are here. We’ll be back doing the same thing,” Hamon said.
About 110 volunteers assisted in Thursday’s event.