AP NEWS

Katy Community Thanksgiving Feast set

November 8, 2016

Twelve Katy area churches are joined this year by social groups and businesses to provide the community’s underserved a Thanksgiving dinner.

First Baptist Church of Katy, 600 Pin Oak Road, will host the 2016 Katy Community Thanksgiving Feast from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

To make sure that no one goes without, organizers ask that people preorder meals by calling Rhonda at 281-384-0288. Spanish speakers are asked to call Margaret at 281-391-9758.

Katy Christian Ministries helps to register families who want to attend the dinner or have a meal delivered, said Jeff Adams, pastor for adult ministries at First Baptist Church of Katy.

Kathy Fraser, who’s been involved with the feast about six years like Adams, said that people also may preorder meals at the St. Vincent de Paul Ministry Office in the Outreach Center at Epiphany of Our Lord Catholic Church. The church is at 1530 Norwalk Drive. KCM is at 5510 First St. in Katy.

“It’s just a wonderful day to give back a little bit of our blessing to those who are in need,” Fraser said.

Adams identified participating churches as First United Methodist Church of Katy, Grace Fellowship United Methodist Church, Holy Covenant United Methodist Church, Epiphany of the Lord Catholic Church, St. Peter’s United Methodist Church, Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, New Hope Presbyterian Church, Creekside Community Church, The Church at Cane Island, First Baptist Church of Katy, Alief Baptist Church of Katy and The Journey Church. That’s two more churches than two years ago.

“New churches going up in new neighborhoods want to get involved,” Adams said.

On its website, Holy Covenant, a longtime feast supporter, asks for donations of new blankets, gently used clean coats, gently used children’s books and nonperishable food items. Monetary donations also are requested.

Miranda Ware, who’s in her first year of leading Holy Covenant’s effort, has participated in the Thanksgiving feast for years.

“Mostly what we’re doing is recruiting volunteers,” said Ware, who will help set up on Thanksgiving Day and then serve dinner. In the past the church was asked to contribute mashed potatoes for the dinner, she said. This year, it’s being asked to donate the cranberry sauce.

The community dinner is a big undertaking, especially for families who not only participate at the public event but then also have a family Thanksgiving for which they prepare.

“It ends up being a huge blessing to everyone,” Ware said. “Our church is very close-knit community - like a family. We definitely come together and reach out to the community.”

The churches are joined by Clothed by Faith, Hope Impacts, Compassion Katy, KCM, The Pregnancy Help Center of West Houston and Christ Clinic Katy, Adams added.

In 2013, Tina Hatcher, executive director/founder of Hope Impacts, which works with homeless, said she didn’t even know about the community Thanksgiving feast until she started talking with friends at nonprofits because she wanted to do something for the homeless.

“That year I actually signed up to help with the feast. We took homeless people with us and picked up 25 boxes of food to deliver to people in the community. The next year we were involved with our church helping to take side dishes.”

This year, Hatcher again will bring homeless to the feast and then deliver meals.

“The Thanksgiving feast is a wonderful way to get involved all-year long. It’s very eye-opening,” Hatcher said.

“People are so busy and schedules are so full that sometimes we lack awareness of the needs around us. I think because of the economy the number of homeless has increased,” she said.

That may not be evident to all as construction on the $70 million football stadium proceeds, new homes continue to be built and grocery stores open new locations to serve the Katy area.

During a typical year, the community Thanksgiving dinner averages 1,200 meals including volunteers delivering meals to homebound. “There are quite a few more underserved than people think,” Adams said. People are homeless, between jobs and affected by the economic downturn, he said.

“Since 2011, Brookshire Brothers, Midway Barbeque, Randall’s, Good Ole Boys and Westside Chevrolet have supplied the meat, cooking and packaging of turkeys and ice,” said Fraser. Joining the effort, too, are The Walk In Closet, Phoenix EMS, Panera Bread, Fiesta, Brammer’s and Igloo Products Corp.

New blankets, gently used/clean coats, nonperishable food/canned goods, diapers (all sizes), or school supplies can be dropped off at First Baptist Church of Katy between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and up to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 23, said Adams.

To help, people also may call Mark Wiley, 2016 donations coordinator, at 281-798-6299.

“We’re excited about it. It’s all coming together,” Adams said. “God always provides. We never run out. It’s amazing that churches and nonprofits come together to serve needs.”

And it all started about 13 years ago when Kaye Brown and members of the Junior Mission at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church on Danover Street in Old Town Katy began a Thanksgiving outreach to ensure that people in their congregation and surrounding area did not go without a home-cooked holiday meal, said Fraser.

The ministry eventually outgrew its Antioch home, said Fraser, and now Katy-area churches rotate hosting duties. First United Methodist Church of Katy hosted the event last year and First Baptist Church of Katy in 2014.