Community provides Thanksgiving meal to less fortunate

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PARIS, TX -- For over three decades now Christians in Action in Paris has provided a free Thanksgiving meal to the less fortunate.
This year's, however, was almost cancelled due to a lack of funds.

"These young ladies right here, if it hadn't of been for them we wouldn't of had it this year," said Christians in Action Director Don Walker referring to Melissa Wickersham and Tara LaMendola.

With the help of the community and Paris Regional Medical Center supplying and cooking the food, the tradition lives on. Nearly 400 people enjoyed the free meal, all grateful for the community's help.

"I think it's truly a blessing," said food recipient Shelly Ashford. "It has been truly for me and Mernie for the food, the atmosphere and the company."

"I've been homeless for three years and I count on this meal every year and I'm glad they stepped up and keeping the tradition alive," said food recipient Phillip Briley.

"It's real nice that people are actually reaching out to help us," said food recipient Kevin Rogers.

Volunteers say it's a rewarding experience.

"I thought I was going to be helping them more, but I think it helped me more," said volunteer Janice Coco.

"I've never done this thing before, so it makes me feel like that it helps them a lot and it will help you in your life and you will be rewarded in your life from God," said volunteer Reyna Hildreth.

The only snag was fear they'd run out of food, but Volunteer Tom Hurst headed to a local restaurant to make sure everyone could get a plate. As it turns out that restaurant's manager used to stay at the Christians in Action shelter, until they helped him get his job.

"He said where are you taking these to, I said down to the people that can't afford to eat at Christians in Action, he said give them five extra," said Hurst.

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