SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - It was a joyous Thanksgiving of Firsts.
Christian Service served its first Thanksgiving meal to those in need in their brand-new building in the 2300 block of Levy Street.
It was a day the leader of the Shreveport ministry Al Moore said he never thought he would see after first joining the ministry back in 1990, a ministry started by Sister Margaret McCaffrey back in 1970.
"I never dreamed that I would be the director actually holding a first Thanksgiving dinner in our new facility at 2346 Levy. It means so much to me," Moore said.
Hope Connections, a Shreveport nonprofit working to foster a coordinated homeless services system, donated the building to Christian Service, leading to the culmination of a four-year process to make Thursday a reality.
Still, the kitchen hummed as if volunteers had been in there for years.
"We can hold a capacity of 350 people," said Moore. "I don't know how many will be coming today but I do know that I'm excited about being able to continue the mission that Sister Margaret started."
For Lara Travis and her daughter, Grace Deupree, volunteering today was a first for them and they plan to make it a new holiday tradition.
"In the past few months, we've lost my mom and my stepfather. So we, I mean, we had several invites to go to family and friends but I just didn't quite feel up to it, you know? I wanted to do something that was just a little bit more," Travis said.
"It's very worthwhile, very rewarding and it's just good giving back to the community," said Deupree.
And before he received his meal, it was Myron Clemens who gave the first blessing.
"Thank you, Father. Thank you for the food. It's in Jesus' name, Amen!" he prayed aloud to cheers echoing across the room.
Moore said Christian Service is open every day except for Christmas Day, serving breakfast from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and lunch from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.