‘Really blessed that these churches come together,’ Hundreds attend 29th annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Lunch
For almost three decades, St. Peter's Catholic Church and First Baptist Church of Columbia have been providing a Thanksgiving lunch to less fortunate in the city.
Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) — For almost three decades, St. Peter’s Catholic Church and First Baptist Church of Columbia have been providing a Thanksgiving lunch to less fortunate in the city. This year was no different.
“We want this to be a place of peace where they can come, and they can just relax,” said Ron Paull, Coordinator with First Baptist Church of Columbia. “We will feed probably about 400, 450 meals here. And then we’ll have 835 meals that leave out of St. Peter’s and they go to low-income housing projects and nursing homes.”
Every year, the two churches co-host the annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Lunch in the Carolina Coliseum. It first began 34 years ago when Robert Keeder worked with St. Peter’s to help feed the hungry on Thanksgiving.
“With the homeless, especially, they get up every Christmas and they get up every Thanksgiving, to go where and do what? And for me personally, that was totally unacceptable. I just thought that was awful. Cause they had to go wake up and praise the Lord for Chritsmas and Thanksgiving and just didn’t have any place to go,” said Keeder, Coordinator with St. Peter’s.
St. Peter’s then partnered with First Baptist. This year marks 29 years of the two groups hosting the feast. It’s a tradition that many are thankful for.
“Really blessed that these churches come together to help all in need for just being here, eating with them and all,” said Joe Cox, who attended the lunch. “It’s really a good dedication that all these people come out and take their time in serving all of us.”
All the Thanksgiving foods are provided; turkey, stuffing, potatoes, rolls, green beans, and homemade desserts.
“We want to feed them the same kind of food that we would eat,” said Paull. “It’s kind of humbling. Because I think you take for granted that what you have everybody has. But not everybody has what we have.”
Both Paull and Keeder said they enjoy talking to those who come, and forming relationships with people year after year.
“Glad you came, enjoy yourself. You can go have seconds if you want to, or maybe even thirds if you want to, and there’s plenty desserts in there get as much as you need. And they go ‘oh yea, thank you Mr. Robert, thank you Mr. Robert, thank you Mr. Robert.’ So that’s what brings me so emotionally upset when I see these people thanking for a meal,” said Keeder.
“Everybody needs a little help sometimes, and it helps us to remember to be thankful,” said Paull.
It’s a tradition that will continue for years to come.
“My time will be coming to an end, as far as being able to do this physically, but right now I still got a lot of energy in my body and a lot of energy in my soul to continue this ministry that God has called me to do,” said Keeder.