COLUMBIA, S.C. — As night fell on Chappelle Memorial AME Church Wednesday, Diane LaBrew joined others preparing for the day ahead.
Empty chafer stands lined a table inside the church. They would soon be full of food to feed hundreds.
It's a decades-long tradition that's close to LaBrew's heart.
"It's been like over 25 plus years when my mom first started it," she said. "Someone after church told her that they were hungry…. So, that's how the ministry started.... Anybody that needed a plate, it was anyone from all walks of life."
Her mom Edith General prepared the meals every Thanksgiving with the help of the church.
"I just want to keep her legacy alive," LaBrew said.
She died in 2013, but her impact continues over generations.
Jean Hopkins, 90, is the longest running church member and remembers the event well over the years.
"Sometimes they'd come back for the extra plate, which they got generously," she laughed. "The aim is to make life better and not to feel that you are there to just get a meal and not realize that you're loved."
They hope to make the same impact this year.
The free Thanksgiving dinner will be held again on Thanksgiving Day at the church at 1101 Pine Street in Columbia.
Meals will be served with a drive through and walk-up option from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Masks are required.