When the Deck Travis family was at home in Houston, Texas, it was a family of 40 for Thanksgiving.
But this year, living in a new town, Linda Travis said they would have been a family of only four, so they volunteered to help serve turkey and trimmings to all comers at First United Methodist Church on Thanksgiving Day.
Linda, Deck and daughter Emily are new to Conway because of Deck’s employment with Southwestern Energy.
"Four of us seemed so small," Linda Travis said. "Helping here today is filling up our hearts."
They joined scores of others who helped spread cheer to hungry folk at the second Community Thanksgiving sponsored by Centennial Bank and supported by individuals and members of churches that put out the call for help in their church bulletins.
Lori Case, a Centennial Bank vice president, organized the event again this year.
She had lots of help from fellow employees, including Board Chairman John Allison, whose job last year was cooking green beans but moved up to making coffee and lemonade this year.
"We expected to serve 650 meals," Case said, "but by about 12:30 we were getting low on turkey and ham. We sent out scouts to see what they could forage to replenish our supplies."
There was no shortage of desserts, however. The choices were spread out on three 8-foot tables laden with home-made goodies and sweets donated by local bakeries.
Sheliscia Phillips, a member of City of Hope Outreach, took the microphone to sing "His Eye Is On The Sparrow," a fitting song for the occasion.
Centennial Bank helped City of Hope with a dinner in two neighborhoods on Sunday, and City of Hope paid that forward by assisting with the Thanksgiving Day event.
In addition to the folks who dined on ham, turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce while sitting at decorated tables in the church hall, there were more than 300 people whose meals were delivered to their homes, including Bethlehem House, Haven House and those on the Meals on Wheels list.
If there were meals left over, Case said, volunteers would go to neighborhoods and knock on doors where they think people might need food.
"It’s amazing the way people come together to help and to share a meal with strangers. It’s a Thanksgiving miracle," she said.
(Staff writer Becky Harris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 505-1234.)