CARLSBAD — In keeping with tradition, Cavalry Chapel Carlsbad opened its doors to the community on Thanksgiving and served up a traditional holiday meal to anyone looking for warm food and good company.
Hundreds of residents — including members of the congregation and those lodging at nearby homeless shelters — gathered at the church, located at 6355 Corte Del Abeto, to give thanks and chow down on Nov. 25.
“It’s a great opportunity for people to get together and share what they’re thankful for,” Pastor Roger Moyer said. “We’ve invited anybody and everybody.”
Congregation members devoted hours to crafting the meal, which included Thanksgiving standards like mashed potatoes, stuffing and pumpkin pie. Turkeys from Tip Top Meats stayed piping hot on the grill and everyone was encouraged to grab a second helping.
“It’s a feeling like no other to serve people and see the smile on their face,” Oceanside resident Cynthia Salas said. Her husband and two children also pitched in to serve food along the assembly line. “It’s awesome.”
Calvary Chapel’s leaders coordinated with nearby homeless shelter, La Posada de Guadalupe, to ensure that those who wanted to attend could be at the event.
Several homeless people also gathered at Holiday Park to catch a shuttle to the church’s facility. They typically gather at the park on Saturdays for a meal served by members of the congregation, but met a few days early for the holiday, Moyer said.
“The people from the church have been wonderful,” Michael Allen said. He arrived with others from La Posada to share a meal and conversation at Calvary Chapel that afternoon. “It’s fantastic that they’re lending a helping hand to help the less fortunate.”
Calvary Chapel has transformed its sanctuary into an inviting dining room on Thanksgiving for nearly two decades, first at its location in Cardiff and in Carlsbad for the past 11 years.
The event has become a haven not just for North County’s less fortunate, but also for those without relatives nearby on the family-oriented holiday.
Moyer noted that a family visiting the area from Northern California also joined in the festivities to share in the traditional Thanksgiving meal while on vacation.
“We always have a mix of people stop by; it’s good for them to come together and love each other on this holiday,” Moyer said. “In Cardiff, we had guys come in wearing suits and ties sit next to another man who always dressed up in trash bags.”