New Zion Branch Ministries feeds thousands of low-income families a Thanksgiving meal

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – A local church prepared a Thanksgiving meal for the under-served population of Aiken County.

Hundreds of turkeys have been served to low-income families in New Ellenton, South Carolina.

For the last 18 years, the New Zion Branch Ministries, of Aiken, has made Thanksgiving unforgettable for thousands of people, who may not otherwise have a Thanksgiving.

“A lot of people take it for granted, because they have food or they just have the means.” Co-Pastor Lorraine Bryant said. “But the ones that don’t, come in and get a meal. It’s the joy that’s on their face. They are so grateful that someone is thinking about them.”

Pastor Ronnie Bryant says he had the vision to start the tradition many years ago.

So with the help of his clergy and donations from local vendors, the church has served more than 9,000 people.

“It’s a blessing that God has blessed us, to be able to be a blessing to the community.” Ronnie Bryant told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

Nearly 30,000 people in Aiken County are living below the poverty line.

So the volunteers take pride in participating in the event, that feeds the hungry.

“Well every year my church helps the poor,” said church member Walter Paige.

“Have you been serving all 18 years?” Asked NewsChannel 6’s Stefany Bornman.

“Yes ma’am. We’ve been a part of the ministries,” said church member Eleanor Bryant. “We’ve also been trying to bless people.”

While some people are new to the table, others make it tradition to keep coming back.

“Is this your first time coming?” Asked NewsChannel 6’s Stefany Bornman.

“Second time. Second or third time,” said Graniteville resident Barry Thomas.

“How has it been so far?” Asked NewsChannel 6’s Stefany Bornman.

“It’s been good,” Thomas said. “It’s been great!”

“Did you enjoy your lunch?” Asked NewsChannel 6’s Stefany Bornman.

“I did,” said Wagener resident Leigh Lybrand.

“Are you thankful for this community?” Asked NewsChannel 6’s Stefany Bornman.

“Yes,” Lybrand said.

The church served more than 700 people from Richmond, Columbia and Aiken counties.

Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story. 

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