Grace United Methodist Church members were overwhelmed by the generous amount of food prepared and donated to the church’s seventh GraceGiving free Thanksgiving meal Nov. 23.

“Last year we provided over 200 plates to people in the community,” said Crystal Crowder, the church’s missions and evangelism committee chairwoman.

At 5:45 p.m., a line of more than 40 adults and children was in front of the church is at 101 W. Avenue F, The doors opened at 6 p.m. and by 6:15, 114 people had passed through the doors for the meal featuring turkey, sides and dessert.

The free dinner was publicized through social media, the school system and local free clinics.

“We do this for anyone — the lonely, and the hungry, those far from home and without a family. We want to meet whatever needs we can for people tonight, whether that be a meal, a safe place, fellowship, or just conversation,” Crowder said.

Members of the church’s congregation signed up for items they wanted to purchase and prepare for the event. Church volunteers helped set up and decorate the dining room and assist in cleanup activities.

Church members for 10 years, William and Debbie Luke donated green beans and corn pudding.

“She spent the whole day cooking,” said William Luke, looking at his wife.

Howard and Patty Keear came from Lampasas for the friendship as well as the dinner. Mr. Keear sat comfortably in his wheelchair while his wife sat near him.

“We are not members of the church, but have made friends over here throughout the years and enjoy visiting with them over dinner,” said Patty Keear.

“This is the biggest it’s been which is exciting. We have the most food, the most help, and hopefully the most people served,” Crowder said, a smile on her face and eyes sparkling with holiday cheer before she rushed off to help her husband.

For more information on Grace United Methodist Church and its programs, go to

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