Jacksonville church continues 42-year-long tradition of distributing Thanksgiving meals

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — On Thanksgiving Day, volunteers were ready to hand out meals to more than 200 people at the Greater El-Beth-El Divine Holiness Church, continuing a 42-year-long tradition.

The church also does a lot of work to help neighbors beyond this tradition.

Bishop Lorenzo Hall who leads the church says this is a one-stop shop for anyone who needs a mentor, or recommendations for jobs or mental health resources.

It all starts with building trust and unity, which is what the Thanksgiving meal distribution was all about.

“This is our 42nd year serving the total community,” Hall noted.

This tradition all started with Hall’s late mother, Dean Hall.

“We [are] still carrying on the tradition,” Hall pointed out.

It’s made possible thanks to dedicated volunteers, like Stephanie Horace.

“It’s from the bottom of my heart. That’s why I volunteer,” she shared.

Horace explained she was born and raised in this same neighborhood. “I care a lot about the people,” she expressed.

“We are a people’s church,” Hall said. “The church where everybody is somebody.”

And where everybody can enjoy a warm home-cooked meal.

“Our menu today is smoked turkey, fried turkey. We have cabbage, we have macaroni cheese, we have vegetable rice, yellow rice,” Hall listed off.

Volunteers had enough food to feed up to 250 neighbors, like Yolanda Williams.

“It means a lot and I thank everyone for giving it to me,” she said as she was leaving with her to-go meal.

Neighbor Revonda Washington also got to take home a meal of her own. “It means a lot. Thank you,” she remarked.

In this time of gathering, Horace and Hall want everyone to know, they can always find a friend at the Greater El-Beth-El Divine Holiness Church.

“The things that are going on now, we just need to get with our community,” Horace emphasized.

“You don’t have to be poor, you don’t have to be, whatever, you can just come and fellowship and network and enjoy yourself,” Hall assured.

Even if you missed today’s food distribution, the church will host another meal distribution on Christmas morning from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., and volunteers will also be handing out gifts to kids, teens, and seniors.

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