Five local families with unique challenges were blessed with an entire Thanksgiving meal on Saturday.

Members of the Bethesda Lodge No. 168 gathered on the second story of the Ellis County African American Hall of Fame to pray for the families and offer a butterball turkey with all the sides to make for an unforgettable holiday.

Addison Alexander is the newest member of the lodge and took on the responsibility of selecting the recipients. The idea derived from worshipful master Duane Steele, who has headed the projects for a few years.

“We just wanted to put a smile on their face with it being the holidays,” Alexander emphasized. “It was a blessing to us as we were able to bless somebody else.”

Alexander knew each recipient personally and elaborated on some of the personal stories about how they live through adversity.

He explained one mother will eat her Thanksgiving meal without her two daughters who passed away one week apart over the past month due to complications with cancer. Another mother, who recently celebrated the birth of her first daughter, will share the meal with her eight children.

When the five families and members of the lodge gathered on Saturday, the members prayed individually with each recipient and then assembled for words of encouragement.

“They are in a time in their lives where they need a hug,” Alexander explained. “They needed someone other than their family to cheer them up and basically let them know, the Bethesda Lodge 168, we are always willing to extend the hand.”

A 74-year-old born and raised Waxahachie resident also received a Thanksgiving meal. In March she started to feel ill and, after a friend took her to the hospital, was diagnosed with bone cancer. She undergoes treatment every Friday, and through the uncomfortable sickness, she remains high-spirited.

“God is good, I’ll tell ya,” she expressed.

For over 20 years she worked in the kitchen at Southwestern Assemblies of God University.

“In 1997, I started as a dishwasher, and I did work myself up. After I worked myself up to a cook, I did a little bit of everything,” she said.

Once again, she expressed her gratitude toward the lodge members, and said, “I’m grateful for it because it helped me out a whole lot.”

“Those five recipients, those are just five of many," Alexander emphasized. "Unfortunately, we couldn’t go out to the whole community and not just folks on the east side, but Ellis County as a whole. Unfortunately, we couldn’t go door-to-door. If we could, we would.”

If interested in joining the group or making a donation, Alexander can be reached on his cell at 214-399-1547 or emailed at addisonalexander@yahoo.com. The group meets on the second and fourth Saturday at noon on the second floor of the Ellis County African American Hall of Fame. For more information, Dr. Jamal Rasheed can be reached at jamal5@sbcglobal.net. 

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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450