Bishop Noel Jones and Chef Loretta Jones hosted the 13th annual community-wide free Thanksgiving Feast on Nov. 21, at City of Refuge Church, 14527 S. San Pedro Street in Gardena.
An overflowing crowd attended the event and enjoyed a hot meal, friendship and fellowship. Congresswoman Maxine Waters and NBA player Matt Barnes were on hand as well for the ceremonial turkey carving.
City of Refuge volunteers also distributed free groceries, clothes, shoes and personal hygiene kits. In addition, barbers and stylists provided free haircuts and grooming.
“The importance of being kind, particularly at Thanksgiving, is a way to celebrate what God has done for us who have, in giving to those who don’t have,” said Bishop Jones, who began the meal with a prayer of thanks.
“The City of Refuge Church and Bishop Noel Jones do a tremendous job feeding thousands of families in our community each year at their Annual Thanksgiving Fest,” said Waters. “I am honored to join with them once again in order to serve those who are in need of assistance during the holiday season.”
Chef Loretta Jones, owner of JJ’s Bistro in Inglewood, catered the event for an estimated 3000 guests. Entertainment included music by DJ Allen and an appearance by Tommy The Clown.
Expressing appreciation for the many volunteers who donated time and talent to the annual event, Bishop Jones said, “It’s fulfilling to give to someone else who doesn’t have what you have. It equalizes things. It’s a godly thing to do because He gives through people.”
He said his inspiration comes from Matthew 25:35: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me…”