With 20 minutes to spare before the the Grimes Community Thanksgiving Feast started at 1 p.m., the event hall was already half-full of bustling families.

Hosted at the the Grimes Community Complex by the Crossroads Community Church for the sixth year, there were 145 pre-registered meals for the day and another 50 expected to drop in for the meal.

Lead pastor Jason Friesen said the church feels “blessed to want to be a blessing to other people” in the community, and a chance to continue to reach out on day where not everyone has that same chance.

“I think as a church, we want to be here for the community. We want to just express the love of Jesus today to these folks,” Friesen said.

He added that roughly half of those served Thursday are part of his congregation, and that no one is pressured to join or be of faith. His wife, Karen Friesen who helped coordinate, also expressed the gratitude for the opportunity to be on the giving side of the day.

“Thanksgiving is all about family and some people bring their family and they come to this and some people don’t have family in the area. This is just a great place to just come and be with other people and have a great traditional Thanksgiving meal,” Friesen said.

She added that the meal has grown over the years, largely through word of mouth and additional outreach through Facebook. There was also a record number of registrations from the senior meals program members, which does not have a Thanksgiving service.