by Alicia Peak
“Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because everyone is together!”
I truly look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving with my family and friends every year. Roasting the turkey in the oven, careful to not overcook it. The island covered with side dishes and desserts brought by family and friends. In the distance the kids laughing and running amok. In the living room the grown-ups cheering on the football game.
I started hosting Thanksgiving back in 2008 when my husband and I were just dating. He lived in a 1,017-square-foot apartment with a roommate. At the time we only had four chairs and a table, a loveseat, couch, and recliner for seating, but somehow we stuffed nineteen of us in there! It was the best Thanksgiving. Thirteen years later, we open our home to anyone who would like to join our family for Thanksgiving.
Because of my love for Thanksgiving and it not being as popular as other holidays, I wanted to be sure others had a meal on their table Thanksgiving Day. I began each year purchasing a meal for one family. I’d pack up my kids and head to the grocery store to load up a cart with all of our favorite Thanksgiving things—from breakfast items down to dinner and games. It was always anonymous, but I knew I was just the farmer planting seeds for the Lord.
70 Baskets Full
Fast-forward to 2020, the year when everything in the world seemed to stop. God began stirring Thanksgiving meals in the hearts of five ladies in our church. Then God watered the seeds of this beautiful opportunity and boy did it blossom! Continuing into Feast for Friends this year, we provided a full Thanksgiving meal to church members and families within the foster and kinship communities. No calling is complete without some bumps in the road, but as it is God’s fashion to show up, he always provided. That freezer we needed to store up to 100 turkeys, pies, rolls, and cool whip in, where was it coming from? Church members! Donald and Amiee Dayton came in at just the right time not only providing a walk-in freezer but cinnamon rolls, regular rolls, and juice for each family!
Then God exceeded our financial goal through 68 generous families! God used 50 adults and kids to pack 70 Thanksgiving baskets in only twelve minutes! God opened 43 doors for meals to be delivered to families who were prayed over by church members. Then God brought 27 families into the church building to pick up their Thanksgiving meal and to be prayed over.
Working Together, Meeting Needs
“You’ll never regret loving another child,” Grandma Peak told a cousin who sought his wisdom. In the foster system you love many children who are not your own. One family opened up about their kinship journey, expressing the need for services to help family members caring for the family placed in their care. She was beyond grateful for this small act of kindness—that was a huge act of kindness for her.
A widowed mama expressed her gratitude through tears, talking about how rough it has been losing her spouse and caring for a family’s kids besides her own children—eight in total. She had to pick up extra shifts at work just to make ends meet and keep her mind off the pain she has felt in her life. These are just a few of the stories that demonstrate why we feel called by God to do a “Feast for Friends” every year.
We find this description of the early church in the book of Acts:
“All the believers were ONE in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need” (Acts 4:32-35, NIV).
Did you hear that? No persons among them were needy! I’m blown away every time I’m brought back to these Scripture verses. When we work together for God’s glory, people’s needs are taken care of. What would “no one in need” look like in your life? Your community? Your work? God continues to stir in the hearts of you and me the calling to take care of others. Jesus told us that the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:39). How is God stirring your heart today, not just on Thanksgiving Day, but in this season? And, what is he calling you to do about it?
Alicia Peak has been serving God since 2001. She is married to Todd, and lives on a small farm, where they homeschool their six Peaklets.