Serving with joyful, glad hearts

Advocate staff photo by ADAM LAU -- Sheila McCrory, 3, Charlotte McCrory, and Chuck Ingram, from left, bow their heads in prayer before helping to serve a 'Feed the Community' Thanksgiving lunch with other volunteers at First Baptist Church on Nov. 22.
Advocate staff photo by ADAM LAU -- Sheila McCrory, 3, Charlotte McCrory, and Chuck Ingram, from left, bow their heads in prayer before helping to serve a 'Feed the Community' Thanksgiving lunch with other volunteers at First Baptist Church on Nov. 22.

Beulah Franklin was excited to see jambalaya served alongside turkey, corn, coleslaw and sweet potato casserole at First Baptist Church of Gonzales’ third annual “Feed the Community” Thanksgiving Day luncheon.

“Everything is so good and the jambalaya is tasty,” said Franklin, a Gonzales resident.

Franklin sat next to Eva Burns, who was attending the event for a second year.

“I’m glad to be here with all of these nice people,” Burns said. “And the food’s good, too.”

Burns’ heaping plate was delivered to her by church volunteer Val Hymel. Hymel was one of more than three dozen volunteers who spent their Thanksgiving morning serving others.

Serving the community and sharing blessings is what the day is all about, Associate Pastor Brent Hill said. Hill gathered the volunteers for a prayer before opening the doors to their guests.

“This is a great way to spread our thanks and a way to give back to our community,” Hill said. “Let us serve with joyful and glad hearts.”

He said he and the other church members “are thankful of the many blessings bestowed upon us through the love of the Lord.”

After the prayer, the volunteers meet in small groups to get their assignments and instructions. In the kitchen, Jamie Trisler was busy making sure every tray of food was hot and ready for the table.

Running around with the volunteers were Trisler’s twin sister and her mother, both from Memphis, Tenn., and a friend from Memphis.

“Our friends in Memphis think it’s so cool to have jambalaya for Thanksgiving,” Memphis resident and visiting friend Amy Barron said.

Liz Ashcraft, Trisler’s mother, said she was happy to be spending Thanksgiving with her family and her daughter’s church family.

“I’m so blessed to be surrounded by this Christian family today,” Ashcraft said.

Ashcraft lived in New Orleans for 20 years, and was glad to be back in Louisiana for the holiday, she said.

“This is the best way to give thanks,” she said. “We’re surrounded by friends, family and great people.”