ST. PETERSBURG, Fla — A South St. Pete Church is giving back to the community this Thanksgiving. Church members pooled together their own money to organize a community dinner, and now, the new tradition is helping forge new friendships.
Church members at the Holy Temple Cathedral Church of God in Christ on 5th Avenue South decided to create a new tradition by welcoming anyone and everyone to the table this Thanksgiving.
“On the South side of St. Pete, we sometimes don’t always have the best reputation. People don’t always look at us as people who are viable or who have good ideas, but I come to tell you what. That is not the case,” said Zema Florence III, one of the organizers of the event.
Church members usually give out baskets full of food to families in need during Thanksgiving, but they realized some in South St. Pete don’t have electricity to put the meals together. That’s when they decided to throw a Thanksgiving Feast and invite the entire community.
The church congregation even prepared enough food to feed 300 people.
“Before we got to the area in which we are now, somebody had to care for us,” Pastor Al Baldwin explained.
The meal was paid for entirely by donations from church members.
Jarrell Florence, who was also helping to organize the event, says church members gave to the cause immediately.
“If we can help somebody out or do a good deed towards somebody it makes our heart feel good to know we can welcome somebody in,” he said.
Holy Temple Cathedral leaders hope this Thanksgiving they can send a message: That regardless of the hardships in life, there’s always a reason to be thankful.
“I guarantee you the good will always outweigh the bad and in case it doesn’t, the best is yet to come,” Zema Florence III said with a smile.