PORT ARTHUR, Texas — Thanksgiving is a holiday tradition celebrated across America where families typically gather under one roof to eat deliciously prepared food and give thanks for what they have.
Many organizations are giving back to communities in need to make sure a turkey or ham will be at the dinner table this year. But what about those who are displaced without a family or home?
On Saturday morning, two brothers in Port Arthur held a feed the homeless event in the 900 block of 9th Avenue for those who are displaced or homeless. Barbecue pits, clothes and bags filled with necessities were on display, ready to be given away by organizers and twins Kerry and Kevin Thomas.
“We’ve all fell on hard times at one point in our life or another. The way I feel personally, we’re all one decision from being possibly where they are. God has blessed us, and we want to bless them as well,” Kerry said.
The brothers and other volunteers gathered around 9 a.m. to set up the food and giveaways available for those in need.
Towels, shoes, undergarments and toiletries were stuffed in 56 bags for women and men who stopped by. A portable shower was also available for the homeless or displaced community to use. Keeping the bathing areas clean was a top priority for Kevin as the COVID-19 pandemic remains as a threat to the Southeast Texas community.
“We have two different areas of showers, four in each one,” Kevin said. “Unfortunately, because of COVID, we’re going to allow one in each side. After that person walks out, we’re going to go in and spray it down for the next person.”
Prayer and resources were also offered to those who wanted help or spiritual assistance.
“We’re providing support. If they need any help getting on their feet, our plan is to give them the resources they need,” Kerry said.
“They may be displaced by not alone,” Kevin said.
Port Arthur Mayor Thurman Bartie and the city’s Police Chief Timothy Duriso were a couple of the people who helped with Saturday’s event. The Ladies of Love ministry later brought free gumbo to the charitable event.
“We had a lot of help and support with this. A lot more than we anticipated,” Kevin said.
Organizations like the New Hope Baptist Church and Gulf Copper donated some of the items placed in the bags.
Donald Frank, Senior Pastor of New Hope Baptist Church said find something to be grateful for in light of the holiday season and a pandemic that's keeping many away from their families.
“If you’ve not contracted COVID in this season, be grateful. You got a roof over your head, you may be by yourself, but you’re not outside as you see the condition of others in this time and in this season, be grateful,” Frank said.
The Kevin and Kerry said they're planning a similar event in December for the displaced community. They're asking for blankets, jackets and coats to help those in need warm during the winter months.
If you would like to donate in any way, contact Kerry Thomas at (409) 853-7271 or Kevin Thomas at (409) 960-2340.