Stories of Thanksgiving


By Kay Bennett

The ministries of Baptist Friendship House (BFH) have existed in New Orleans since 1944 and provide services for the homeless, human trafficking victims, domestic violence victims, persons with addictions and the impoverished. Global Hunger Relief funds assist us each year in providing a meal for our homeless and people in need. Over 300 of our people enjoyed our annual Thanksgiving Day meal. We had 60 volunteers from our local churches, our state and Mississippi.

One gentleman said, “I have come to Friendship House for Thanksgiving for 10 years since Katrina, and your spirit of love never changes.” That statement means a lot to me because Jesus never changes, and therefore the spirit of our ministry should never change. We should always be about sharing Jesus and His love with others. After all, Jesus said, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.”

One of my homeless ladies came up to me after eating and said, “I am hurting.” I asked, “Did you eat too much?” She pointed to her stomach and said it felt tight. She said, “I have never felt this way before. I have never ate this much.” I was humbled in that moment as I thought of how often I eat too much. Each year as we give out thousands of snack packs, assist with emergency food assistance and provide meals, I am truly reminded of what Thanksgiving is all about.

We were about to finish serving on Thanksgiving Day when a young man rode up on his bicycle. He asked as he pulled in if we had any food left. He jumped off his bike, lay it on its side with the tire still spinning and ran inside to get food. He was a hungry young man. The state of Louisiana has an above national average hunger rate.

The Friday before Thanksgiving, Coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints Play it Forward Foundation and Feed the Children partnered with us and provided three food trucks. We were able to provide 1,200 families with boxes of food that prepared 48,000 meals. We are blessed to be able to send relief to those in need in our city. Jesus also said, “When you have done it to the least of these, you have done it to me.” Thank you for helping us to be Jesus to people who are hurting and in need.

Kay Bennett is the Executive Director of Baptist Friendship House in New Orleans.

Published December 3, 2015