Giving Thanks Always

By LORETTA FULTON

A white board for jotting down reasons to be thankful filled quickly Wednesday morning as guests stood in the serving line at the day-before-Thanksgiving breakfast served by City Light Community Ministries. 

“Getting an apartment”
“Being alive” 
“A meal here”
“My City Light Family”

Those were among the many blessings listed by guests and volunteers. The breakfast is a tradition at City Light Community Ministries, an outreach of First Baptist Church. For the past 15 or so years, the meal has been served in the City Light building near the church. Last year, it was canceled due to COVID but was back this year, with dozens of grateful people lined up on the sidewalk waiting their turn to be seated.

“It’s kind of a grand breakfast,” said John Moore, pastor for missions at First Baptist.

Actually, it was even more than that. Guests could pick up takeout boxes and bags of fruit and bread on their way out. Many did so, Moore said, to help out neighbors and family at home. Some of the guests at the annual breakfast are City Light regulars, while others hear about the meal through the grapevine.

“We see a lot of new faces, too,” Moore said. 

About 30 volunteers showed up to help, many bringing a breakfast casserole or other food for the breakfast. Most of the volunteers were adults but Chloe Bunselmeyer, a fourth-grader at Wylie West Elementary School, was serving her first-ever volunteer gig. She was helping her grandfather, Joe Williams, who was handing out to-go boxes as guests left. He set a good example for his granddaughter with his cheerful, respectful greeting. 

“How many can I get you, sir?” Williams asked a man who approached the takeout line.

“Two, please,” the man answered and was handed his boxes, along with directions to the other takeout items available. 

Chloe’s big job was to hand wrap individual-sized loaves of banana nut bread for guests to take. Each wrapped loaf carried a sticker with a message: “Happy Thanksgiving! Blessings from City Light Community Ministries”

Chloe and her grandfather arrived at 6:30 a.m. to get started on their jobs. Chloe wasn’t bothered by having to get up so early, even during her Thanksgiving break from school. 

“I have to get used to it,” she said. “I’ll be back whenever I can.”

As the first guests began to take a seat and start eating, Moore welcomed them, and Larry McGraw offered a prayer. Some of the guests are rejoicing, McGraw said, while others are sad. No matter the individual circumstances, McGraw prayed that all would leave the gathering blessed.

“Take us from here with joy in our hearts,” he said.  

Loretta Fulton is creator and editor of Spirit of Abilene

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