Some people waited up to eight hours Saturday to be first in line for an annual Feed the 5,000 event, hosted by Destiny World Outreach Center in Killeen.
One of the first ones to be in line was Roger Doane, who drove from Lampasas with his sister-in-law Connie Doane. The Doanes said they got there a little after 10 a.m. for the event that began at 6 p.m.
“I have done this for the last three years,” Connie Doane said. “It is an awesome, blessed thing.”
Roger Doane said it was his first time coming to the event.
This year’s marked the fifth year, said Chaston Rowe, who handles media relations for the church.
“I asked my brother-in-law to come with me,” Connie Doane said.
The Doanes were not the only ones who got their early.
As of around 3:30 p.m., the entire parking lot of the church was full and volunteers were already filtering people onto the grassy lot adjacent to the property.
“We’ve never had this amount of people in the parking lot this early,” Rowe said.
The multitudes were waiting to go through one of 11 lines to receive fresh food, such as milk, yogurt, breads, fruits, vegetables, meats, cereals and other non-perishable food items.
Much of the food came from the Central Texas Food Bank and the River Life Community Food Bank from Fairfield, Rowe said.
The church prepared, and had food for, around 33,000 people.
“Our main thing is to help people,” Rowe said. “And that’s what Jesus did is he helped people whenever he broke the fish and the bread apart and multiplied it from 5,000 people.”
Roger Doane, along with others in line early, recognized how significant an event like Feed the 5,000 is in a time like now.
“This is more impactful, because it helps those who can’t get out (or) cannot afford it,” Roger Doane said. “Because times are hard and they’re getting harder.”
Laverne Keys, who was waiting with her daughters Nievea Johnson and Kenyartta Deramus, said they were in line on a whim, because a friend of hers told her about it.
“It’s a blessing,” Keys said. “Especially with everything that’s going on, it is a blessing.”
Helping people in this way is precisely what the church is called to do, Rowe said.
“That’s what our job here is to help people,” Rowe said. “... We’re being able to be real hands and feet of Jesus, making an impact — not only Killeen, but making that impact all over Central Texas, and even outside of the area.”