ROCHESTER, Minn. - For the 14th year in a row, the Peace United Church of Christ held its community Thanksgiving meal on Sunday. The free holiday meal is open to everyone in the community.
"Thanksgiving is about family and friends and sometimes people don't have a place to be. So we want to provide the opportunity to find that place," Ed Lequire, who helps organize the meal, said.
The meal is catered and church members help out, too.
"The church members make pies, and bring them in and we cut them all up so everybody has a hand in this and it's just one of those things that feels really good," Lequire said.
This is Lequire's 10th year volunteering for the event. But for others, like Jerry Locula visiting from Africa, this is his first Thanksgiving meal ever!
"This dinner means a lot to me, it's my first time having turkey meat," he said. "You got people from all ages participating in this dinner, to makes it so wonderful that the community is connected, the community is friendly."
It's not as much about the food as it is the people sitting next to you.
"We are sitting right next to people that we've never seen and having my kids see that and accepting that and sitting at the table and accepting them for who they are is important to me," Rebecca Wortman, a dinner guest, said.
Over 300 peole came to the meal, and are now leaving with full stomachs and full hearts.
"It's one of those things as a human being that all you want is to be wanted and loved. And for one place to have that. If there's one place, one place, and they're may be others...thats it. That's all," Wortmand said.
Peace United Church of Christ also holds community meals, free and open to everyone, every Wednesday night at 5:30pm.