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Locals and Houston nonprofit share holiday meals with public, continues 33-year tradition

Temple Salvation Army hosts Socksgiving and Thanksgiving meal
Posted at 5:26 PM, Nov 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-25 18:26:09-05

BRYAN, TEXAS — For the 33rd year in a row, one Bryan woman has inspired her friends and neighbors to share their Thanksgiving meal with the whole city.

Gloria Kennard has been preparing for weeks, and the day has finally arrived.

As is tradition, Thanksgiving is a time when she and members of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church of Bryan join together with volunteers to cook and pass out free meals.

“Oh, today is going really, really, really great," Kennard exclaimed. "God has blessed this meal.”

For four hours Thursday afternoon, the cheerful group braced the cold and passed out hot turkey and sides to a constant stream of drive-by recipients.

A majority of Kennard’s helpers consisted of volunteers from the Houston-based nonprofit known as Strong Women Advancing Against Turmoil, or ‘SWAAT.’

“This is my daughter's vision," said Maxine Hart, SWAAT volunteer. "It's to help women be who they are, to empower them to be who they are in the community.”

As part of SWAAT's mission to empower women, Hart and her daughter Shenise Rawlings Anderson decided to use Thanksgiving as a time to spread love through charity.

Connected to Bryan-College Station by Pleasant Grove’s lead pastor, the volunteers were happy to make the drive out to Aggieland in order to cook, serve, and lift spirits.

"Due to the holidays, it’s just this time of the year that brings around depression," said Rawlings Anderson. "So us just giving back, being here, being present in the moment; it's the most powerful thing to us.”

Gloria Kennard has been giving free meals to Bryan’s locals in need since 1988. Now, she’s not just doing it out of her house, she has a whole church and army of volunteers behind her.

“I’m happy with all the food, happy with the volunteers, happy with everything," said Kennard.