WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Convoy of Hope Wichita fed hundreds of people a free Thanksgiving meal on Thursday, Nov. 24, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Bethel Life Center at 3777 S. Meridian.

“I think that we didn’t expect to have so many people right in the door,” Cheri Lankford, Convoy of Hope Wichita Thanksgiving director, said. “We opened the doors early because so many people were waiting. We literally had 400 of our closest family and friends from the community coming through our doors within 45 minutes.”

She said they have enough food for 800 guests, plus another 200 volunteers. In addition, they had 200 meals for the homeless.

A large crowd enjoys the annual Convoy of Hope Wichita Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 24, 2022 (KSN Photo)

“We actually increased the meals that we are delivering to the homeless this year,” Lankford said. “We have a team that goes out across the city and delivers hot meals to the homeless wherever they are.”

The Convoy of Hope Wichita organizers had to deal with this year’s turkey shortage.

“In the past, the turkeys have been donated,” Lankford said. “This year, we had to purchase the turkeys ourselves, so we really had to reach out to our community for those extra funds to be able to cover that expense, but they always come through, and we should have plenty of turkey for everybody.”

Two Brothers BBQ smoked the turkeys for the meal and delivered them on Monday.

“We had a crew that tore those down and had them in roasters and ready to go,” Lankford said. “And then Tuesday night was all the rest of the food preps. So we’ve been working on this literally since Monday morning to make sure that this meal was perfect for everybody.”

Children played games and colored pictures during the annual Convoy of Hope Wichita Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 24, 2022 (KSN Photo)

The Convoy of Hope Facebook page said, “We invite you to be our guest and enjoy a free home-cooked turkey dinner with friends, family and neighbors!”

Organizers made sure to have a big screen TV so people could enjoy watching football while they ate. They also had activities and games for the children.