Thanksgiving Feast Draws Hundreds To St. Mary's

By Jeff Neumeyer

November 24, 2011 Updated Nov 24, 2011 at 6:10 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Lots of people enjoy big “get togethers” for Thanksgiving.

The gathering was "supersized" Thursday at St. Mary's Catholic Church downtown.

Officials say the tough circumstances in the country right now drew a bigger crowd than normal.

A meal fit for a king or queen.

St. Mary's Catholic Church has a reputation for feeding Fort Wayne's low income and homeless folks.

On this day, no one was turned away, regardless of need.

Eddie Cummings/Served at St. Mary's: " Everybody smiling on Thanksgiving, it was beautiful. I only ate a little bit because I had so much to eat last night. It was wonderful to be down here amongst all friends and family, it was great."

Karen Wilson/Enjoyed Thanksgiving Meal: " I'm on disability, and it's just nice that people do this for people that can't afford it."

St. Mary's cooked 168 turkeys in anticipation of serving 750 sit-down meals.

A small army of volunteers helped keep the food flowing.

George Joachim/Volunteer: " We brought my family down here so they could experience some of the giving back. We've been blessed so much over the course of a year that you want to try to do what you can to give back to your community."

Jeff Neumeyer: " Besides the turkey, there's 40 pans of dressing and five cases of green beans and sweet potatoes on hand. The bad economy is really making the demand bigger than ever here."

Bishop John D'Arcy/Bishop Emeritus: " So many out of work, unemployment checks that aren't coming for some people, so I think it reflects the economy and shows the importance of this work done by St. Mary's, by the Catholic Church, and by so many other groups as well."

This ministry planned to pump out another 750 carry-out meals.

D'Arcy says, given the lingering recession and turmoil over finances in Washington, local outreach ministries will be called on to do even more.

One big holiday is down, but Christmas is just around the corner.

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