FORT BRAGG, N.C. –Manna Church and Two Brothers Catering collaborated for a third time to distribute to-go Thanksgiving meals to Fort Bragg service members and Families, Nov. 15.
According to Manna Church, this is just one way the church can express its gratitude to the numerous military and veterans who live in the area.
Soldiers stated it might take some getting used to spending Thanksgiving away from one's family, and some troops told ABC 11 that seeing volunteers arrive at the post to distribute food helps them feel festive.
"It's a good feeling because they are thinking about us and sometimes you don't get that a lot, especially over here,” said Spc. Jodison Lassen, 82nd Airborne Division Artillery. “So, it's good to be noticing other people noticing us."
“People from the community, plus having your fellow Soldiers around just makes the holidays that much better,” said Spc. Caleb Constantin, signal support specialist in the 82nd Airborne Division Artillery. “It's almost as if I never left, because I have family here.”
The Garrison Commander, Col. John Wilcox, two crowned pageant queens, and over 15 volunteers from Manna Church gathered to distribute the packed meals of Tuscan herbed chicken breast, garlic mashed potatoes, buttered sweet corn, seasoned green beans, a yeast roll, gourmet cookies, and a water bottle.
Around 500 of the more than 700 meals were prepared and served on Pike Field. The rest were distributed to service members getting ready for an airborne mission and involved in “clean sweep” around Fort Bragg.
Two Brothers Catering of Fayetteville was an important part of this Good Samaritan effort too, having prepared the food. “This is kind of our way of giving back to the military,” said Kelley McLawhorn, the youngest of the two McLawhorn brothers of Two Brothers Catering.
He and his brother, Brad, both wore their chef’s uniforms at the event as an opportunity to show their support and thankfulness to Soldiers on Fort Bragg.
"To be able to work with the military community through our 21-plus years just gives us the opportunity to give back to the Soldiers and the Families that put it all on the line for us every single day," said Brad McLawhorn, a co-owner of Two Brothers Catering.
The admissions and outreach director, Jordan Gill, stated the younger Soldiers may be spending their first Thanksgiving away from home; therefore, this is a chance to express love and care.
“Outreach is a lifestyle,” said Gill. “We believe if you got up and left tomorrow, and this city did not notice that you were gone, then you’re not having an impact.”
According to Gill, Fort Bragg is a big part of the Fayetteville community, and it’s important to give thanks and outreach.