‘No strings attached’ | Thousands of free meals donated ahead of holiday

Grace Baptist Church hosts “Feeding the 5,000″ to donate Thanksgiving meals to people in need.
Grace Baptist Church hosts “Feeding the 5,000″ to donate Thanksgiving meals to people in need.
Published: Nov. 19, 2022 at 5:50 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 19, 2022 at 5:53 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Thanksgiving is less than a week away, and one East Tennessee church is making sure all families can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner by donating thousands of meals to the community.

“Thank you so much. Happy Thanksgiving!” said one woman as she walked away with a box full of Thanksgiving food.

Grace Baptist Church in Knoxville handed out Thanksgiving meals to go.

“God provides when you need it, and I was needing help with Thanksgiving, and He provided,” said Melissa McMillan, who now has a turkey to serve at Thanksgiving dinner.

Hundreds of people lined up at Fulton High School Saturday morning. Each family walked away with a box of food, containing full-sized turkeys, mashed potatoes, green beans and more.

“It helps quite a bit, and it’ll help bring the family together too,” McMillan said.

Each box had enough food to feed about five to eight people. And with 1,000 boxes distributed, the donations will feed 5,000 to 8,000 people for Thanksgiving.

This was Grace Baptist Church’s 4th annual “Feeding the 5,000″ event, inspired by Jesus feeding 5,000 people with only five loaves of bread and two fishes.

“These are tough times,” said Bobby Lewis, Pastor of Grace Baptist Church. “My own family, you go to the grocery store, and the bills are higher. If we’re going to love people, we’ve got to be able to give with no strings attached.”

Lewis said all the food was bought and donated by community members, and it took hundreds of volunteers.

Before the food distribution, Lewis gave a short service to the large crowd.

“We also don’t think it’s loving just to give them the food and not tell them about the God who loves them,” Lewis said.

He said they previously held previous “Feeding the 5,000″ events at the church, but this is the first time they expanded to a bigger place because of the large turnout.