Area residents facing hard times are not out of luck this year when it comes to enjoying a Thanksgiving feast.
Several area organizations host a free Turkey Day meal for the community.
Some dinners have served more than 300 people, and organizers are often looking for help or donations so they can expand.
The Jesus Hope & Love Homeless Mission in Killeen welcomes anyone to its Thanksgiving meal.
“It’s for the community, not only the homeless,” said Pastor Steve Chae, president of the mission. “This is a good time we’re able to get together and share and welcome the family types. We are connecting with the community.”
Also in Killeen, the Salvation Army will host its annual meal on Gray Street.
Like the Homeless Mission, the Salvation Army’s meal is open to the community.
“Any and everybody,” said Lt. Chris Bryant, corps officer for west Bell County Salvation Army locations. “From people who are homeless on the street, to people who would love to have a good Thanksgiving meal but can’t afford it, to people who just live by themselves. This is a community-wide open meal.”
Last year, the Salvation Army served more than 125 people at its dinner and delivered around 350 meals to people in their homes.
This year, Bryant said they are gearing up to feed between 400 and 500 people.
“I don’t want to think of anybody not being fed or not getting fellowship on (Thanksgiving),” Bryant said. “You don’t even have to go through a line. We serve them and make sure they’re taken care of.”
In Copperas Cove, Grace United Methodist Church’s young adults will provide 14 turkeys worth of Thanksgiving Wednesday afternoon.
For its third year, church members will donate side items while the young adults prepare turkeys to serve to area residents.
“We realize there is a need in the area. Lots of people don’t have a place to go,” said Crystal Crowder, a member of the young adults group. “We decided to meet that need by holding this event.”
Crowder was uncertain of how many people the church had served at past events, but said around 20 church members would be involved in the preparation of side dishes.
Those who do partake, she said, are very grateful.
“We live in a military community and the economy’s been very rough,” Crowder said. “Any time we can do any kind of community outreach program at the church, people are so appreciative.”